CNN International’s Jonathan Mann, during an hour-long "love fest" in honor of Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, gushed over the former vice president. "You went from being 'Ozone Man' to 'The Goracle.' This became -- the Nobel Prize became 'The Goronation.' You must be conscious of the change in perceptions about you in particular because of that film [An Inconvenient Truth]."
Later, at the very end of the program, Mann speculated that Gore’s prize could actually be shared with all those who contribute to the planet-saving cause. "We may not all agree about the politics of global warming or about the big solutions, but we can all do our own little part, and it will add up. And for that reason, this year, for the first time that I can remember, we can all share the Nobel Prize."
Mann interviewed Gore, along with IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, live from the site of the annual Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway during the 11 am Eastern hour. Besides a lengthy interview of the two Nobel Prize laureates about a number of topics, CNN aired a number of short segments about Gore and the subject of climate change.
Thomas Lovejoy, president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment*, appeared in two of the short segments. In the very first segment aired, Lovejoy showered Gore with praise. "Well, I think he's done just an extraordinary job of awakening public consciousness to essentially, you know, the largest environmental challenge of all time." In a later segment, Lovejoy went further than Gore and the IPCC on the threat of climate change. "I think, if anything, he underestimates the rate of change, and so has the IPCC. So the Arctic Ocean is now projected to be ice-free for the first time in 2020, instead of 2050 or 2100."
About a quarter of the way into the hour, Mann asked Gore and Pachuauri about "An Inconvenient Truth" and the controversy over its accuracy. A full transcript of the exchange:
JONATHAN MANN: Let me ask you about the criticism and the court battle in Britain about the facts. If you had that movie to make over again, how much of it would you change? How many of the facts would you just lighten up a little bit?
GORE: Virtually nothing. Virtually nothing. And one of the issues was they said the polar bears aren't in any trouble at all. Well, I think maybe they've taken another look.
MANN: Well, what they said -- to be fair, what they said is there's very little empirical evidence that polar bears are drowning. What some of your critics have said is that, in fact, more polar bears are being shot by hunters than are suffering because of global warming.
GORE: Well, you know, we have to do a reality check. The entire North Polar Ice Cap is in the process of melting in a very short period of time. That's their habitat. It's disappearing. The Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet were both excluded from the calculations of the IPCC in their previous report. The best scientists who have the expertise on ice science argue that it should be included. It was put into a footnote. And now they are going back, as they have said they would do, and they are including it. The rate of...
MANN: Well, let me jump in.
MANN: If our source here is the IPCC...
MANN: ...they're actually well represented.
GORE: Not turning away, absolutely.
MANN: Have you seen the movie? Did you think it was accurate?
PACHAURI: I have. I think it's a very good movie. I was moved by the movie. I really enjoyed it very much. And I personally think when you're disseminating the message, you have got to do it in a manner that appeals to the audience. And I really didn't see anything that one could call a scientific inaccuracy. I never saw it from that perspective. But, you know, I went to see the movie because I wanted to see how he disseminated the message, and I think that was extremely well done. It was very, very effective.
MANN: Well, it was effective in another sense as well. And this was a personal one. Before the movie, you were best known, of course, as the former U.S. vice president, as the man who almost became president. Your critics ridiculed you as ‘Ozone Man,’ and then the movie came out...
GORE: Well, that was actually the first President Bush, who used that...
MANN: I think you have some fans here in the audience. You went from being 'Ozone Man' to 'The Goracle.' This became -- the Nobel Prize became 'The Goronation.' You must be conscious of the change in perceptions about you in particular because of that film.
GORE: Maybe we can stop somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. The movie had an impact, which I'm very grateful for, and I'd also like to acknowledge again my debt of gratitude to the scientific community that has really done the work in assembling this body of knowledge. I have tried for 30 years to translate the scientific insights into language that I personally can understand, on the theory that if I can understand it, I can communicate it to others. That's all I've tried to do really.
Towards the end of the hour, Mann highlighted the supposed indifference of the American people concerning the issue of climate change.
MANN: Maybe the best way to describe American attitudes, and I hope this is fair to all concerned, is that Americans do know about global warming and they do care, but they don't care all that much. Al Gore, you travel across the United States, you know there are millions of ordinary Americans. There are senators, there are scientists who disagree with you. There are a few people running for president. Do you see their point of view, or is there some problem? Because around the world, people wonder why Americans feel so differently from everyone else.
Mann’s "we can all share the Nobel Prize" comment came during his last words to Gore and Pachauri. The full transcript of this closing monologue:
MANN: Gentlemen, I hope you're going to allow me a final word before we have to bring this program to a conclusion. The Nobel Prize has been given out many times before to diplomats and politicians, humanitarians and activists. It's even gone to scientists before, and at least once before to an environmentalist. So this year doesn't really set a precedent in that way. But it is different this year because of the other people involved, and that's the rest of us. You may not be able to solve the problems of the Middle East, you may not be able to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, but you can, we all can, do something about global warming. You can flip off the lights when you're leaving a room. You can take a longer walk and use your car less often. You can even shop differently to try to encourage business. We may not all agree about the politics of global warming or about the big solutions, but we can all do our own little part, and it will add up. And for that reason, this year, for the first time that I can remember, we can all share the Nobel Prize.
*Correction (Ken Shepherd | December 11, 11:17 EST): As Stacia VanDyne of the Heinz Center pointed out in an e-mail to NewsBusters, CNN erroneously credited Lovejoy as president of the Heinz Foundation, an error we consequently passed on in our initial coverage.