The New York Times reported over the weekend that we’re starting to receive “clues” about Donald Trump’s views about the climate crisis. Of course, his perspective isn’t exactly a secret: the presumptive Republican nominee, like so much of his party, has dismissed the scientific evidence as a “hoax” and “pseudoscience.” Trump wasn’t hinting when he called climate change “a total con job.”
In fact, there are all kinds of issues where Trump and Hillary Clinton will strongly disagree in the general election, but arguably the climate debate offers the most striking contrasts: the Democrat has an ambitious plan to address the crisis; the Republican has some poorly written tweets about why he thinks global warming is “bulls**t” when it’s cold in January.
There is, however, an exception to the issue Trump probably hasn’t thought much about. Politico reported that while the Republican candidate says he doesn’t believe in climate science, he is also “trying to build a sea wall designed to protect one of his golf courses from ‘global warming and its effects.’”
The New York billionaire is applying for permission to erect a coastal protection works to prevent erosion at his seaside golf resort, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel Ireland, in County Clare.A permit application for the wall, filed by Trump International Golf Links Ireland and reviewed by POLITICO, explicitly cites global warming and its consequences – increased erosion due to rising sea levels and extreme weather this century – as a chief justification for building the structure.
Hmm. It’s almost as if Trump isn’t concerned about the climate crisis when it puts Americans in jeopardy, but he’s quite concerned about it when the crisis threatens one of his golf courses.
Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who lost in a Republican primary a few years ago because he accepted science evidence on climate change, told Politico Trump’s position is “diabolical.”
“Donald Trump is working to ensure his at-risk properties and his company is trying to figure out how to deal with sea level rise. Meanwhile, he’s saying things to audiences that he must know are not true,” Inglis said, adding, “You have a soft place in your heart for people who are honestly ignorant, but people who are deceitful, that’s a different thing.”
The Politico report is worth reading in detail, just to get a sense of the degree to which Trump’s business enterprise seems to treat the climate crisis as a real and looming threat, in need of serious preparation.
The statement acknowledges one Irish government study that assumes a steady rate of erosion through 2050, but argues that the study fails to account for the effects of climate change: “If the predictions of an increase in sea level rise as a result of global warming prove correct, however, it is likely that there will be a corresponding increase in coastal erosion rates not just in Doughmore Bay but around much of the coastline of Ireland. In our view, it could reasonably be expected that the rate of sea level rise might become twice of that presently occurring…. As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.”The bigger problem, though, according to the impact statement, will be the erosion caused by larger, more frequent storms…. Later, the statement argues that rising sea levels make taking action unavoidable.
So, here’s a question the Republican campaign might want to answer at some point: should Americans listen to Donald Trump the climate-denying candidate or Donald Trump the climate-accepting resort owner?
Because right now, the two Trumps appear to have very different perspectives when it comes to accepting reality.