Donald Trump may be a real estate mogul with an estimated worth of who knows how many billions — we think it might be seven — and a penchant for trying to derail presidential campaigns but that’s not stopping Scottish authorities from standing up for themselves in the face of this combed-over bully. Trump started a nasty feud with the nation when they announced plans to erect a series of windmills in Aberdeen Bay near Trump’s new luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire. The Don threw a tantrum, wrote a personal letter to Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, shut down construction on the golf course and said he wouldn’t start building again until Scottish authorities promised not to erect those “ugly monstrosities”. Now the Scottish government is fighting back calling his tantrum “embarrassing” and assuring the world they won’t be “bullied by Mr. Trump and his millions.”
So here’s the rundown of how the feud started. Donald Trump decides that because he likes golf and has billions of dollars to throw around, he’s going to build a golf course on the coast of the country where golf was born. He starts construction. Scottish authorities realize some years ago that they’ve got approximately one quarter of Europe’s offshore wind energy potential and tapping just a third of what they’ve got could power Scotland seven times over. Scotland starts to propose offshore wind turbines.
Scottish officials are excited about the prospects for offshore wind energy which could lead to their energy independence and a huge job market, according to Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead. “The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential generation of over 7 billion pounds to Scotland’s economy and support up to 28,000 direct jobs by 2020,” Lockhead said last year. Trump’s view of the whole thing is just a tad askew. “With the reckless installation of these monsters, you will single-handedly have done more damage to Scotland than virtually any event in Scottish history!” he said. To which Scottish Renewables — the company which was awarded the project in Aberdeen Bay — chief executive Niall Stuart asked, “Who is Donald Trump to tell Scotland what is good for our economy and environment?” He followed by saying. “Offshore wind is attracting billions of pounds of investment and supporting hundreds of jobs in Scotland, including in his mother’s home town of Stornoway… to be honest there are so many mistakes in this nonsense that it’s difficult to know where to begin.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie was particularly incensed by Trump’s vitriol for the renewable energy proposals. “What Mr. Trump needs to understand is that Scotland will live up to our responsibilities to tackle climate change,” Rennie said. “This letter is a desperate attempt by a rich man who is used to getting his own way but his tizzy is embarrassing. Instead of the world laughing at Scotland, Scotland is laughing at Mr. Trump.” Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, has described Scotland as the “Saudi Arabia of renewable energy” and seems bent on developing that potential. In an interview post-Trump attack, he said he believed that even the real-estate mogul could be swayed when shown offshore wind energy’s positive potential. The country currently has 62 turbines offshore which produce 200 megawatts of power, and the plan is to develop that by a multitude of 50 to meet 2020 renewable energy goals.
Perhaps a better way for the Scottish government to sway Trump would be to show him the destructive environmental impact of the traditional golfing industry — which we’re sure his golf course isn’t going to do much to try to diminish — and perhaps to plaster his lovely rolling greens with giant photos of mountaintop coal mining and offshore oil spills. What people like Trump forget is that our lovely little offshore wind turbines — and they are lovely, aren’t they? — are helping us to move away from some truly abhorrent forms of energy that are not only unsustainable but seriously ugly as well.
Lead image by m.prinke