U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is on his way to Scotland. He was scheduled to visit Ireland, but cancelled that leg of the journey after our Prime Minister called him “racist and dangerous” and rumors circulated that Trump would be confronted with a crowd of Irish protesters who did not welcome him in our "land of a thousand welcomes".
Trump owns a golf-course on the southwest coast of Ireland. It’s at risk of falling into the sea due to erosion exacerbated by the Atlantic storms that are occurring with more intensity as a result of climate change.
Ironically, Trump’s company in Ireland has applied to the local county council to build a sea wall (yes, another wall!) to protect his golf course. They cited ”rising sea levels and increased storm frequency and wave energy associated with global warming” as the reason the wall should be built. While in America, Trump calls climate change a “hoax” and a “con job”.
In December 2015, 197 countries within the United Nations agreed to attempt such change as part of the Paris Climate Agreement, but if Donald Trump is elected president he could single-handedly undo that tremendous global effort. He already said as much when his energy adviser, Congressman Kevin Cramer (a self-professed climate denier) recommended he “just pull out” of the U.N. Climate Agreement and Trump agreed that “at minimum” he would “renegotiate the deal” – A deal that has already taken over 21 years to negotiate.
For the climate, the alarm bells are sounding now as Arctic temperatures reach unprecedented warming and we see flooding and storms around the world the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We no longer have time for further negotiation, let alone a U.S. president who doesn’t take the biggest global challenge of our time seriously.
Watching interviews of Trump, one can see some appeal in his speaking style. It’s somewhat refreshing to see a politician that isn’t trying to please everyone for the sake of a vote and trying to please corporations for the sake of campaign funding. Naturally, when we watch someone on television week-after-week we begin to trust them as they keep us company in our living rooms. Donald Trump has garnered the public’s trust over the years more than most politicians could dream of thanks to his TV exposure.
Eggers called Trump a modern day Andrew Dice Clay, an irreverent American comedian of the 1990s who was known for misogynistic jokes. The similarities are palpable. It seems America may vote for a president on the basis of entertainment value without acknowledging the key role of the U.S. president in matters of vital global importance.
Throughout history, U.S. Presidents have played an essential role in matters of global conflict, trans-boundary environmental problems like depletion of the ozone layer, and humanitarian crises.