Al Gore received his Nobel Peace Prize on Monday and urged the United States and China to make the boldest moves on climate change or "stand accountable before history for their failure to act."
"We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency — a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here," Gore said in his acceptance speech.
Gore shared the Nobel with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for sounding the alarm over global warming and spreading awareness on how to counteract it. the U.N. panel was represented at the ceremony by its leader, Rajendra Pachauri.
"It is time to make peace with the planet," Gore said at the gala ceremony in Oslo's city hall, in front of Norway's royalty, leaders and invited guests. "We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war."
The former vice president urged China and the U.S. — the world's biggest carbon emitters — to "make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act."
His remarks came as governments met in Bali, Indonesia, to start work on a new international treaty to reduce climate-damaging carbon dioxide emissions. Gore and Pachauri plan to fly there Wednesday to join the climate talks.
The governments hope to have the new pact, which succeeds the Kyoto accord, in place by 2012, but Gore has said the urgency of the problem means they should aim to come to an agreement by 2010.
Before his speech, Gore said in an interview with The Associated Press that he believes the next U.S. president will shift the country's course on climate change and engage in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
"The new president, whichever party wins the election, is likely to have to change the position on this climate crisis," Gore said in the interview. "I do believe the U.S., soon, is to have a more constructive role."
He said it was not too late for Bush administration to join efforts to draft a new global treaty limiting greenhouse gas emissions.
"I have urged President Bush and his administration to be part of the world community's effort to solve this crisis," Gore said. "I hope they will change their position."
The Bush administration opposed the Kyoto treaty on climate change, saying it would hurt the U.S. economy and objecting that fast developing nations like China and India were not required to reduce emissions.
The other Nobel awards — in medicine, chemistry, physics, literature and economics — will be presented at a separate ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden.
Each Nobel Prize includes a gold medal, a diploma and a $1.6 million cash award.
Lavish white-tie affair
The Nobel Prizes, first awarded in 1901, are always presented Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of their creator, Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.
In Stockholm, the winners of the science Nobels receive their awards Monday from Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf before being treated to a lavish white-tie banquet at City Hall.
The 2007 awards in medicine, chemistry and physics honored breakthroughs in stem cell research on mice, solid-surface chemistry and the discovery of a phenomenon that lets computers and digital music players store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.
Three U.S. economists shared the economics award for their work on how people's knowledge and self-interest affect their behavior in the market or in social situations such as voting and labor negotiations.
One of the economics winners, Leonid Hurwicz, 90, and the literature prize winner, 88-year-old British writer Doris Lessing, could not travel to Stockholm. They will receive their awards at later ceremonies in Minnesota and London, respectively.