It’s been a while since we talked on the practice tee at Doral. (Nice course you built.) I am only going to do this once, but I am going to offer you some free advice – and it’s about all the things you love most: yourself, your kids, winning, money and golf. Have I got a deal for you …
You see, Donald, I was looking at all the golf courses you own. Some of them are real gems, like Doral, Turnberry, Doonbeg, Palm Beach, Aberdeenshire. But you know what else I noticed? How many of them are on or near coastlines. And do you know what’s going to happen to those golf courses, Donald, if the climate scientists are even half right? They’re going to go from oceanfront property to ocean-floor property. Because ice melt and sea level rise are going to threaten all of them. Here’s a July 21, 2015, story from Weather.com:
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“As our seas continue to rise, some cities, like Miami, are planning to spend billions on revamping infrastructure. But some scientists say sea level rise will lead to another phenomenon in South Florida, and local leaders need to start preparing for it now. The region that’s home to thousands of high-priced homes nestled against the water is expected to be threatened directly by the rising seas in the coming decades, and when the harsh reality sets in, a mass exodus could commence. … In short, there’s no way to save South Florida, and lawmakers should start to prepare for millions to move north. … More than 2.4 million people live within 4 feet of the local high-tide line, and according to Climate Central, the risk of storm surge flooding will be far higher by 2030. … ‘This is not a future problem. It’s a current problem,’ Leonard Berry, director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University, told PBS.”
In other words, Donald, there is no candidate in this race who is more exposed to climate change than … you. And I am not talking only about your coastal golf courses. Global warming doesn’t mean the weather, on average, just gets hotter. It means the weather gets weirder. You get more weather extremes – hotter hot days, wetter wet ones, longer droughts, fiercer storms, heavier snows.
The Climate Wire quoted a U.S. Golf Association turf expert in August 2014 as saying that “individual golfers and club leadership are becoming aware that these are real issues.” I can only imagine what this will mean for insurance rates for golf course. And that was before Nature magazine published a new study in March indicating that sea levels could rise almost twice as much as previously predicted by the end of the century – “an outcome that could devastate coastal communities around the globe,” as The Washington Post noted, unless we curb emissions of greenhouse gases. Ask your golf course greens keepers how many of them think climate change is a hoax?
So here’s the advice: I know that you’ve tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” (Just as an aside, Donald, that’s incredibly stupid. The Chinese are ahead of us in putting a price on carbon because they can’t breathe.) But let’s put that aside. We both know that you know as much about climate change as you did about abortion rights and the nuclear triad. It was just one of those things you put out there to keep you looking like a Republican good ol’ boy.
Donald, you’ve done something truly revolutionary: You’ve single-handedly reshaped the agenda of the Republican Party, mixing some left-of-center and centrist positions with the party’s traditional right-of-center stuff. You should do the same now, embrace the reality of climate change and vow as president that you will be “huge, huuuuuge” on this issue – that “I’ll make the whole planet great again.”
It would be in your financial interest, America’s interest and your grandkids’ interest. Nobody who voted for you in the primaries did so because of climate, except maybe coal miners in West Virginia. Your base does not care about this issue, and, by the way, all their kids are telling them climate change is real. The reason the Republican Party has its head in the sand on climate is the oil companies force it to. But you don’t need Big Oil’s money.
Here’s what you need: some Bernie Sanders voters. You can’t win without some of them. And they’re all greens. If you promised to take climate change seriously, you’d make it much easier for some of them, who dislike Hillary Clinton, to hold their noses and vote for you. You’d also get a lot of other people to give you a second look. Most important, it would tip Republicans on this issue.
Cards on the table, Donald, I won’t be voting for you. But if you really want to make this race interesting, continue to reshape the Republican Party, raise the odds of winning Florida, preserve your wealth and do something to make America great again, tweet this: “Talked to some scientists, smartest in the world, changing position on climate change. Feeling the burn. Gotta protect our kids.”
After all, Donald, you don’t want to be remembered as the politician who’ll be the answer to the question, “Who lost Florida?”