As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump has taken a pretty hard line on climate change. He has said that he is “not a great believer in man-made climate change,” has called it a “total, very expensive hoax,” and has blamed the Chinese for creating the concept “to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” He has also threatened to renegotiate the Paris climate deal, largely seen as the world’s best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
As a businessman, however, Trump seems to take a different approach to climate change, privately preparing to protect his investments against climate-related problems like sea level rise and coastal erosion. According to permit applications reviewed by Politico, Trump has applied to build a wall to prevent coastal erosion at his Trump International Golf Links seaside golf resort in Ireland — and has explicitly cited risks posed by climate change in his application.
Trump bought the property, located in County Clare, Ireland, in February of 2014, after an usually stormy winter. Just days after the purchase went through, a storm hit and eroded as much as eight meters (about 26 feet) off of some parts of the golf course. That prompted Trump to look into building a coastal wall to protect his investment from future erosion.
Earlier this month, the national government rejected the structure, but Trump has resubmitted permits to the Clare County Council. The wall would stretch two miles along the coast, and consist of 200,000 tons of rock.
As part of the permit application submitted to Clare County, Trump International Golf Links Ireland also submitted an environmental impact statement prepared by an Irish environmental consulting firm. The impact statement cites a study prepared by the Irish government that assumes a steady rate of coastal erosion through 2050. The impact statement notes, however, that that study fails to account for the change in coastal erosion rates driven by 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,” the application states. “As a result, we would expect the rate of dune recession to increase.”
It Snowed Once And Other Things Donald Trump Thinks Prove Global Warming Is A HoaxClimate by CREDIT: AP PHOTO/RICHARD DREW In a long speech in front of many American flags, billionaire Donald Trump…thinkprogress.orgThe impact statement also cites the issue of more frequent, severe storms driven by climate change, which could accelerate the rate of coastal erosion.
“As with other predictions of global warming and its effects, there is no universal consensus regarding changes in these events,” the statement reads. “Our advice is to assume that the recent average rate of dune recession will not alter greatly in the next few decades, perhaps as far into the future as 2050 as assumed in the [government study] but that subsequently an increase in this rate is more likely than not.”
It’s not uncommon for companies to build climate change into their business plans — Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Ceres, told Politico that it’s “best practice” for companies to do so. Businesses that are especially dependent on climate, such as food supply companies, have been building climate into their business strategies for years. Even big oil companies included sea level rise in their calculations for building offshore platforms.
When asked about “[hedging] against risks” as a businessman by a Washington Post editorial writer in March, however, Trump denied the importance of accounting for climate change.
“I just think we have much bigger risks,” Trump said.
For Trump, whose portfolio includes millions of dollars worth of beachside property, climate change could be a huge problem — a Buzzfeed News investigation found that sea level rise could severely threaten many of Trump’s properties, including his $130 million luxury golf course in Doral, Florida, and his $40 million private club in Mar-a-Lago.