Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
According to the agenda of an upcoming conference, three Nobel laureates will be participating. But only one of them is genuine. [Please see update at bottom of this post.]
Oh dear, this is getting tedious. This coming weekend, a conference will take place in Iceland. Called the Arctic Circle Assembly, we’re told it will be attended by
political and business leaders, indigenous representatives, nongovernmental and environmental representatives, policy and thought leaders, scientists, experts, activists, students and media.
The stated goal of this gathering is to encourage “international cooperation on Arctic issues.”
There will, of course, be lots of hand wringing about climate change. But don’t take anything said at this meeting too seriously. I mean, these people are confused about some basic facts. According to the agenda, three Nobel laureates will be participating. But only one of them is genuine.
The NobelPrize.org website has a page titled All Nobel Peace Prizes. It says the Peace Prize has been awarded to “100 individuals and 24 organizations” over the years. Their names are listed there, in one handy location.
One of the individuals mentioned on that page is Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. In 2007, he shared the Peace Prize with an organization – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The agenda for the Arctic Circle conference tells us that Gore, who will address the gathering via video, is a “Nobel Laureate.” Actually, he’s a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Neglecting to mention those two other words invites people to infer that he was awarded a Nobel for scientific reasons.
But hey, we all use sloppy, imprecise language occasionally – and Gore is well enough known that few people are likely to mistake him for one of the world’s finest scientific minds.
Five lines later, however, we’re told that “Nobel Laureate” Sergio C. Trindade will also be speaking. A bio of that gentleman appears here. It tells us he’s closely linked to the United Nations, and is a “globally recognized consultant and expert in sustainable development and energy.” It also says:
Dr. Trindade is a co-laureate of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as a member of the International Panel on Climate Change – IPCC. [bold added, web page backed up here]
That statement is false. Wrong. Invalid. Erroneous. Incorrect. And unfounded.
The name Trindade does not appear on the NobelPrize.org website. Not on the page titled All Nobel Peace Prizes – or anywhere else.
Move a little further down the agenda, and we encounter the same problem. Another person who’ll be addressing the conference via video is Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s chairman. He, too, is falsely described as a “Nobel Laureate.” But all he is one of the individuals who happens to have led the IPCC during its 25-year history.
Trindade is not a Nobel laureate. Nor is Pachauri. A formal statement by the IPCC – issued a year ago – makes it clear that no IPCC-affiliated individual should be referred to in this manner.
Only one real nobelist will be involved in the conference this weekend. He isn’t a scientist, but a career politician.
The Arctic Circle Assembly is trying to enhance its own stature. It is trying to impress us with the prestige of its conference participants. But the shocking fact that two of the three people it describes as Nobel laureates haven’t actually won a Nobel makes it look foolish.
The false claim that Trindade is a nobelist also appears:
a big hat tip to Hilary Ostrov, proprietor of The View From Here blog
the conference agenda is backed up here
UPDATE, 14 October 2013: The conference agenda has since been amended and now makes no mention of Nobel laureates – not even Al Gore is described that way. The current version of the agenda is backed up here.