But the Nobel Peace Prize? Pffft.
While he deserves applause for bringing global warming somewhere nearer the forefront of our American conversation (global warming still doesn't get as much discussion as Britney Spears), Gore's a documented hypocrite. He talks the talk, but doesn't quite walk the walk. A carnivorous, global-jetting, mansion-heating guy isn't exactly practicing what he preaches.
And now his documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth" is officially flawed. A British judge has said that while the film is generally true, it contains 9 significant "untruths" that make it unsuitable for showing to schoolchildren unless "balancing" information is also taught.
Gore's Tennessee mansion consumes more than 20 times more natural gas and electricity than an average home, according to recent analyses. And while he globe-trots in a private jet to promote himself, he is one of America's leading consumers of greenhouse-gas-producing jet fuel. And the chubby ex-VP obviously keeps meat close by, even though the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2006 that the livestock industry emits more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined.
I have believed Gore's form of environmentalism served mainly to keep him in the public eye while he plotted a new political future. When he was in the White House, he had plenty of time and opportunity to accomplish his stated goals, so why didn't he? One might recall that he had billions of gallons of water released from a dam so he could have a canoeing photo op ... but what significant impact did he have on the American or world environment when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency?
Is this really the kind of leadership we call "great" today? Say it, but don't do it?
But the bigger question is: What the hell does all this have to do with world peace? Is it possible that the Nobel Committee has caved in to America's celebrity obsession?
UPDATE @ 4:35 p.m.: Several international sources are now answering my question about what Gore's activities have to do with world peace (because a lot of people are apparently asking), and they actually connect the dots nicely. To summarize, if we cannot curb greenhouse gases, the global climate shifts will cause some areas to dry up, coastal areas to be flooded and agricultural lands to change. If/when that happens, people will begin to fight over the areas that are most productive for whatever future needs we have, including food. Thus, to avert the worst effects of global warming is to ultimately avert wars.
That's an awfully simplistic rendering of some heavier thinking, but it makes the point: An environmental crusade can have peace implications.
But I still wonder of Al Gore was the right choice ... or merely the most Hollywood of choices.