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Much at risk as sea levels continue to rise

By FRANCES LAMBERTS

As the Associated Press and other news sources reported last year, “when his golf resorts are affected, (now President) Trump believes in global warming.”

His Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Clare County, Ireland, has seen the beach front disappearing about a yard each year. Mr. Trump, therefore, applied for a permit in May last year to build a two-mile long stone wall in the ocean to protect the resort. The permit application states that almost all the dunes in western Ireland are retreating “due to sea level rise and increased Atlantic storminess.”

In a film, “Facing the Surge,” shown recently in Jonesborough, a retired Commander of the U.S, Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia speaks about the damages to coastal military installations through the same rising seas and “storminess” from which Mr. Trump is seeking to protect his Irish golf course.

The Norfolk naval station, the world’s largest, conducts some 275 flights per day, is home to the U.S. Fleet Command and defends a massive area including the Atlantic Ocean and parts of the Pacific. Due to sea level rise of more than a foot during the last century, the base and town now suffer extensive flooding several times a year, threatening future operations of the base.

At cost of $60 million each, the base is raising several piers and projects another $250 million expenditure to restore and strengthen other, older piers.

In the city itself, residents of some older neighborhoods now must carry storm-water insurance, not needed earlier, costing $400 a year. As USA Today has reported, Norfolk is looking to build three flood walls and a new, $650 million storm-water management system. It now requires new buildings or major renovations to be elevated three feet above the flood plain.

Yet with coastal flooding and sea level rise continuing under climate change, the city will find itself having to “retreat” from the sea, within at most a few decades from now, as its mayor states in the film.

In 2009, Donald Trump urged President Obama to commit to strong climate action. His appeal then and permit action in Ireland now indicate knowledge on his part of the reality of climate change, and its risks and great costs. Yet in tweets during the election campaign, Mr. Trump dis-affirmed global warming as “a total hoax” and “very expensive bull***.” He has promised to undo the world leaders’ Paris climate agreement and, as president, has staffed the government with men who, for decades, engaged in public deception about climate science and blocked regulatory action to abate its damage and risks.

Indeed, President Trump seemingly could allow land loss and taxpayer costs from sea level rise, drought and wildfires and other climate change effects to get far worse.

But a coalition of high level Republican political and business leaders, joining forces as a Climate Leadership Council, are urging him and fellow Republicans to act responsibly on the climate, for the good of the U.S. and world economy and for preserving a livable world for future children. He should heed their voice.