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White House, UN Secretary-General Praise Nobel Peace Prize Laureates

The White House has praised Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for his efforts to bring attention to global climate change.

A White House Spokesman, Tony Fratto, told reporters Friday the award is an important recognition for Gore as well as the U.N. panel on climate change that shares the 2007 prize. He said the next step is implementing climate change strategies that are effective and practical. But he said the award will not affect current U.S. policies.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon congratulated the award recipients for establishing what he said was "beyond doubt" that climate change is happening. Mr. Ban said their work has sparked a momentum for action on the issue.

Also Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the work of the award recipients has made clear that the world can and must act against climate change.

Environmentalists in Africa say the award will focus more attention on a phenomenon that is having an especially serious impact on the continent.

Guy Midgley, of the South African National Biodiversity Institute, says the award is relevant because global warming could affect peace and stability in many parts of the world. Midgley says Africa is doubly affected because it does not have the resources to address climate change.

Experts say global warming is causing severe drought in some parts of Africa and extensive flooding in others. They warn that if the trend continues, it could lead to intense competition for food, water and other resources which are already scarce in many areas.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.