Please see the update to this story here. This ad has been withdrawn.
In 2010, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) put Roger Pulwarty in charge of a chapter examining global warming and adaptation strategies. A senior official with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), he earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Toronto’s York University.
Seven weeks ago, York U launched an ad campaign aimed at high school students and their parents. These students are being encouraged to believe that Pulwarty is a member of one of the world’s most eminent and exclusive clubs.
A poster featuring a photo of Pulwarty declares: “From a prized education at York to a Nobel Peace Prize.” A detailed, in house article about the ad campaign declares that Pulwarty is a “Nobel Laureate.” (Back in 2008, a York U publication insisted he was “York’s first alumnus to become a Nobel laureate.”)
Other entities have made similar declarations. When the American Planning Association organized a symposium in July 2012, attendees were told that Pulwarty “is one of the winners of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.” Similarly, a recent Water and Climate Change conference distributed material claiming that “Pulwarty received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work” with the IPCC.
But this is nonsense. In 2007, the Peace Prize was awarded jointly to an individual (Al Gore) and to an organization (the IPCC). Over the years, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, and UN peacekeeping forces have also received the Peace Prize. Just as this didn’t transform every peacekeeping soldier into a Nobel laureate, the approximately 9,000 people who’ve helped the IPCC write reports over the past 25 years didn’t become nobelists, either.
When you win a Nobel Prize you receive a personal telephone call from a Nobel official – and a cheque for a significant amount of money. Al Gore got the telephone call and the cheque. Roger Pulwarty did not. It is, therefore, incorrect for York University to imply that Pulwarty has won a Peace Prize.
In October 2012, a court document declared that another IPCC author, meteorologist Michael Mann, was “a Nobel prize recipient.” When journalist Thomas Richard attempted to verify this claim, a Nobel official didn’t mince words: “Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,” he responded via e-mail.
Shortly afterward, the IPCC issued a statement that leaves no room for doubt. The Peace Prize, it says,
was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner.
hat tip to Redmond Weissenberger