My Turn: Global warming strikes again |

My Turn: Global warming strikes again

If you ever want to get attention by ruffling some feathers just use “global warming” and “hype” in the same sentence.

To say my recent column about Al Gore being the keynote speaker at the 17th annual Lake Tahoe Summit entitled “Don’t believe the hype on global warming” got a lot of attention would be an understatement. My only regret is my column went viral for the wrong reasons.

In spite of the superb job many did at dissecting the paper I referenced about the consensus on global warming, few caught onto the broader, more subtle point of my column and why Gore’s attendance at the summit was a disservice to the lake and the communities that surround the basin.

That disservice was to draw attention away from the true causes for reduction in clarity of Lake Tahoe’s unique waters, with the true causes being both nutrient and sediment runoff due to development and urbanization around the basin.

His attendance also potentially “greenwashed” development plans for the basin. See the Aug. 12 My Turn column entitled “Gore speaker selection an example of Tahoe ‘greenwashing.’”

In that column, Mr. Gore’s attendance risked reinforcing the “half-truths, significant omissions of ‘inconvenient truths’ and other ploys of deception to manipulate public opinion” that are found in the public relations campaigns of the Tahoe Regional Plan Agency, ski resort industry developers, chamber of commerce, gaming interests and local governments.

Mr. Gore is world renown for creating global warming awareness. I’m certain that’s one of the reasons why the organizing sponsor of the summit, the Tahoe Fund, a nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “support and funding for projects and programs that increase the enjoyment of the region,” selected Gore as the keynote speaker.

I would venture to guess the fund would like nothing more than for the development plans for the basin to be greenwashed. The fund is chaired by Timothy Cashman, a member of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Taxpayers Association and other business and community organizations.

The vice chair is Art Chapman who for the past 25 years has been president of JMA Ventures (a real estate investment firm headquartered in San Francisco, with local offices) and who has more than 30 years of professional experience in real estate management and development.

As I said in my previous column, summit attendees and beyond seemed blinded to the bigger picture by Gore’s prestige and the very emotional issue of global warming. The singular focus of the responses to my previous column helped prove that point, which is why I titled it, “Global warming strikes again.”

With Cashman and Chapman at the helm of the fund, I highly doubt Gore would have been asked to speak if the sponsors thought doing so would hamper development in the basin.

Mr. Gore’s no dummy. He had to have known there was an ulterior “greenwashing” motive lurking behind him being asked to speak by the fund.

As an aside, members of the Fund’s Founders Circle (those contributing $5,000 or more) include, among many others: Vail Resorts, Squaw Valley, JMA Ventures, Arbor Realty Trust, DMB Pacific (a privately held real estate investment and development company), PlumpJack Hospitality Group and Lawrence Realty. Further, Gore, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid and Govs. Jerry Brown and Brian Sandoval all were guests at the Tahoe Fund’s annual Founders Circle dinner.

People shouldn’t be fooled into thinking the “Tahoe Lifestyle” is simply having the gem of the Sierra and such beautiful country at their doorstep to enjoy either.

If you Google “Tahoe Lifestyle,” the majority of hits are real estate companies using the Tahoe Lifestyle as a marketing ploy.

Nick DeFiori is a Truckee resident.

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