My Turn: Don’t believe the hype on global warming

Nick DeFiori

Why do so many people believe everything Al Gore says about global warming is true? My guess is because he is very talented at manipulating the public’s emotions in order to push his agenda.

Mr. Gore once again demonstration his crafty skills as the keynote speaker at the 17th annual Lake Tahoe Summit.

Former Vice President Al Gore, California Governor Jerry Brown, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, California Senator Diane Feinstein and a host of other likeminded politicians gathered at the summit to demonstrate their concern for Lake Tahoe … or did they?

Like towns visited by self-promoting snake-oil salesmen in the Old West, the local audience and beyond seemed more than willing to be duped into believing that the politicians attending the summit cared more about the locals than benefiting from selling their goods.

And what goods were they selling? Global warming being caused by human factors is a scientific fact.

And how were they selling their goods? Just like snake-oil salesmen in the days of old, by tugging on the emotions of town’s folk using half truths about things that are near and dear to their hearts, in this case Lake Tahoe, specifically, the degradation of Lake Tahoe’s uniquely clear alpine waters.

It’s very true that over the past 45 years the lake’s clarity has been alarmingly reduced, but the reduction has nothing to do with global warming.

That’s not to discount the potential negative effects global warming could, may or will have on the lake. Those concerns are very valid, and we’re fortunate to have such a distinguished, well publicized group of politicians create an international awareness of Lake Tahoe’s plight.

But let’s be honest folks — we were used.

The reduction in Lake Tahoe’s clarity thus far has been due to pollution, not global warming, and unlike the causes of global warming, that’s an indisputable fact.

Numerous studies, governmental agencies and environmental advocate groups confirm that fact including the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s “Keep Tahoe Blue” website by stating a phenomenon known as “cultural eutrophication” (i.e. an increase in the rate of supply of organic matter by man that increases algal growth due to excessive nutrient levels) is contributing to the lake’s loss of clarity.

The website goes on to say that “scientists have identified fine sediments (entering the lake from roadways and urban areas) as the primary source of lake clarity loss.”

When the lake’s clarity first became enough of a concern to be regularly measured starting in the late 1960s, the concept of “global warming” wasn’t even on the public’s radar.

That didn’t occur until after a 1981 “Science” publication by Jim Hansen concluded that man-made carbon dioxide emissions would lead to accelerated warming of the atmosphere.

Few people realize that throughout the 1970s, a period during which the clarity of Lake Tahoe continued to decline, global cooling fears were widespread among many scientists who predicted we were in danger of entering another ice age.

Scientists have yet to come to a consensus on the causes for global warming. The results of a recent peer-reviewed survey of geoscientists (see “Science or Science Fiction? Professionals’ Discursive Construction of Climate Change) showed that 68 percent of those surveyed believed the causes for climate change are still unresolved.

Of those surveyed, only 26 percent believed climate change was caused by human factors, 28 percent believed it was due to natural causes, and 46 percent believed it was a combination of both.

In spite of there being far from a consensus on climate change, and Mr. Gore having been widely criticized for being an alarmism and exaggerating the facts, he continues to peddle his views on global warming using the manipulative tactics of a snake-oil salesman.

Apparently that’s the only way for Mr. Gore to stay relevant on the issue of global warming.

My guess is Mr. Gore and his compadres didn’t attend the summit to focus what will invariability be a transient international spotlight on the issues facing Lake Tahoe. It’s more likely Lake Tahoe’s plight was manipulated in order to keep their own spotlights from burning out.

I have no intent, desire nor the qualifications to promote a scientific stance on global warming. But a stance I am more than willing to take is suggesting that people refrain from basing their opinion about global warming on what a politician tells you, especially a politician with biased views and the track record of Mr. Gore.

I encourage people to do their own research in order to form an opinion about global warming using unbiased experts who do not have an agenda to push based upon their economic and/or political views or affiliations.

— Nick DeFiori is a Truckee resident.

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