By JASON DEAREN and ALEX SANZ
PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement could accelerate damage to his family’s real estate empire in the coming decades, especially his properties that lie just feet from the encroaching sea in low-lying South Florida.
The president’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the soaring apartment towers bearing his name on Miami-area beaches and his Doral golf course are all threatened by rising seas, according to projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the South Florida Regional Climate Change Compact.
Severe damage may come sooner rather than later if the U.S. abandons the international agreement aimed at curbing emissions of heat-trapping gases that cause climate change.
“His properties live off of tourism — golfing communities, places where fat cats go and spend money and hobnob. It’s all related to the tourism economy in South Florida,” said Jim Cason, the Republican mayor of Coral Gables, a small city south of Miami that is aggressively planning for sea-level rise.
South Florida roadways already flood routinely during storms or unusually high “king tides,” forcing cities to raise or move them and install expensive pumping systems.
“If the beaches are gone or the streets are flooded, it’s going to affect the value of his property,” Cason added. “So as a prudent businessman, he ought to conclude that the science is right and we need to prepare and plan.”
Trump’s 123-room Mar-a-Lago mansion and private club sit on a barrier island with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway to the west. If the sea level climbs by 2 or 3 feet in this century — an amount that falls squarely within scientists’ predictions — that would push seawater onto the mansion’s western lawns. Nearby roads and bridges used to access the property would also be affected.
At some point this century, water is expected to completely cover many of the state’s barrier islands, especially during storms.