Former Vice President Al Gore said Friday in his first public comments since being named co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize that global warming is the most dangerous challenge facing humanity and it's time to act.
"I'm going back to work now," Gore said. "This is just the beginning."
Gore was awarded the prize earlier Friday along with an international network of scientists for spreading awareness of man-made climate change and laying the foundations for counteracting it.
Shortly after being named the winner, he said he would donate his half of the $1.5 million prize money to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan nonprofit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion worldwide about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.
Gore made his comments Friday from the organization's headquarters.
"It is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced, but also the greatest opportunity we've ever had to make changes we should have been making anyway," Gore said. "It truly is a planetary emergency and we have to respond."
In its citation, the committee lauded Gore's "strong commitment, reflected in political activity, lectures, films and books, has strengthened the struggle against climate change.
He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater
worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted."
Almost immediately after the honor was announced, attention turned to Gore's future and whether he would enter the 2008 presidential race.
Gore didn't mention the campaign during his remarks Friday.
Two Gore advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to share his thinking, said the award will not make it any more likely that he will seek the presidency in 2008.
If anything, the Peace Prize makes the rough-and-tumble of a presidential race less appealing to Gore, they said, because now he
has a huge, international platform to fight global warming and may not want to do anything to diminish it.
One of the advisers said that while Gore is unlikely to rule out a bid in the coming days, the prospects of the former vice president entering the fray in 2008 are "extremely remote."
"Perhaps winning the Nobel and being viewed as a prophet in his own time will be sufficient," said Kenneth Sherrill, a political analyst at Hunter College in New York.