Think Trump dismisses climate change? Think again

Trump's conflicting views on climate change

Donald Trump might have angered campaigners with his latest comments on the energy industry, but a little-known planning application in Ireland highlights the concerns the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has on the effects of climate change.

Trump pledged on Thursday to reverse actions instigated by President Barack Obama designed to tackle climate change and called for fewer environmental regulations. He vowed to "cancel the Paris agreement," referring to the 2015 Cop21 meeting in Paris in which global leaders pledged to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

However, the comments seem to jar with actions that Trump is taking to protect his golf course in Ireland, where global warming is being cited as a justification to build a coastal structure to prevent erosion at his resort.

Trump's Doonbeg Golf Resort, located on the Atlantic coast, applied to Country Clare Council in March to build a 20-meter-wide defense barrier, or sea-wall, in order to protect the resort from 30-meter waves that are eroding the coastline which is dotted with sand dunes.

Donald Trump
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The application, which was filed on May 10 and available online, states that there are a number of environmental reasons to allow the wall; to protect the "very serious loss of habitat" that has been caused by the "retreat of the coastline."

"The majority of the Irish dune system and virtually all west of Ireland systems are retreating (due to sea level rise and increased Atlantic storminess)," a report connected to the application states. "The evidence for increased storm activity associated with climate change suggests that erosion will accelerate," it said, estimating that if the current rate of erosion is allowed continue "it will result in a significant loss of habitat, and infrastructure."

Donald Trump
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The detailed application also states that "the rising sea levels and increased storm frequency and wave energy associated with global warming can increase the rate of erosion, wave damage, coastal flooding, etc," according to ABC News.

Most scientists acknowledge the role of fossil fuel use in climate change. Rising sea levels are seen as a key indicator of climate change as global ice sheets melt amid rising global temperatures. Trump had previously been mostly mute on details of his energy policy, but had been skeptical of climate change and the Paris agreement. He has previously also called climate change a "hoax".


Environmental advocates have criticized his stance for underplaying the economic and social risks of climate change. The NRDC Action Fund, an advocacy group, responded to Trump's speech on Thursday saying he had proposed disastrous policies that would ruin the environment.

"As president, he would put decades of environmental progress at risk and make it impossible to grow the clean energy economy we need to avoid the worst effects of global climate change," the group said in a statement.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night watch party at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino on February 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Trump wants to build another wall...in Ireland

Citing the golf resort's ecological conscientiousness, the application also states that "the environmental and ecological context of the golf resort at Doonbeg is well known given the introductions of a detailed annual conservation report which has considered aspects such as habitats, Vertigo (an endangered snail found in the area), geology, hydrogeology, and groundwater quality each year since 1998."

A decision on the coastal structure is due in early July.

- CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Matt Clinch contributed reporting to this story.

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