New US policies could hit tourism
and increasingly embattled at home. Trump retweeted a flurry of praise about his move on Friday morning, all delivered by political allies, from Vice-President Mike Pence to Republican house majority leader Kevin McCarthy.
The White House hit back at criticism of Trump’s decision to scrap the major global climate deal, accusing Europe of trying to “shackle” the US economy — and refusing to acknowledge that climate change is real.
With the US virtually isolated on the world stage, a string of administration officials went on the offensive to justify the Republican president’s decision to abandon the 195-nation Paris deal curbing global emissions.
Trump’s top climate adviser, Scott Pruitt, was indignant.
“The world applauded when we joined Paris. And you know why? I think they applauded because they knew it would put this country at a disadvantage.
“The European leaders, why do they want us to stay in?
“They know it will continue to shackle our economy,” said Pruitt, who serves as Trump’s Environment Protection Agency administrator.
That combative tone came amid a wave of bitter condemnation from around the world and as Trump and his aides refused to say whether he believes climate change is real, in line with the global scientific consensus.
Trump ignored the question when asked by journalists during an unrelated event with law enforcement officers, although he did joke that Thursday’s decision had proved “controversial”.
Along with Trump, Pruitt and White House press secretary Sean Spicer were among those who refused to answer repeated questions on the subject.
Instead, Pruitt lashed out, saying “We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country” — despite the US being the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China.
As well as a global outcry, Trump’s decision prompted a domestic backlash, with state governors, city mayors and powerful companies already drawing up plans to meet the Paris pact’s greenhouse gas emission targets.
At least two Republican governors announced they were partnering with Democratic-run states to combat climate change.
US billionaire, philanthropist and UN envoy for climate change Michael Bloomberg pledged $15-million (about R192-million) to support the Paris agreement’s coordinating agency if necessary — the sum it stands to lose should the US refuse to pay its share.
Merkel, the EU’s most powerful leader, pledged “more decisive action than ever” to protect the climate after Trump’s “highly regrettable” decision.
Trump’s announcement comes less than 18 months after the climate pact was adopted, the fruit of a hard-fought agreement between Beijing and Washington under former US president Barack Obama’s leadership.
The Paris agreement commits signatories to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which is blamed for melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and an increase in extreme weather events.
They vowed to take steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures “well below” 2ºC from pre-industrial times and to “pursue efforts” to hold the increase under 1.5°C. — © PEOPLE in the US travel business have warned that President Donald Trump’s isolationist rhetoric and tougher border controls are going to discourage foreign travellers.
Mobile app Foursquare, for example, reported last week that among its users the share of international tourism to US leisure locations had been declining since October 2016.
ForwardKeys, a travel data provider, reported this week that northern hemisphere summer bookings for travel to the US were down 3.5% over last year — while bookings were up for all other major destinations.
Still, there is no sign yet of the kind of dramatic fall-off in travel to the US that followed 9/11 or the 2008 financial crisis. —