President of France, Emmanuel Macron. CC 2 license from Raul Mee.
It’s a high-level troll, and an expert one.
French president Emmanuel Macron announced in December that his country would offer grants totaling $70 million to 18 climate scientists, 13 from the U.S., to continue their research until U.S. president Donald Trump leaves office.
The money is meant to give these researchers secure funding to continue their work at a time when funding for climate science in their home countries is under attack.
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As a Cornell University researcher, one of the 13 U.S. researchers funded, told the Associated Press, the offer “gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do.”
Another told The Washington Post, “For me, the chance to work on some very exciting science questions with my French colleagues and not be so dependent on the crazy stuff that goes on in Congress and with the current administration is honestly very attractive.”
Macron has worked to step into the void left among countries that lead in efforts to fight climate change following Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Pact, although that cannot happen until 2021.
Eiffel Tower in Paris, France (photo by Rijin, via Wikimedia Commons)
Trump has denied the accepted scientific consensus on climate change several times, notably comparing it to bovine excrement and deeming it a plot by China to hurt the U.S.
He has appointed numerous climate-science denialists to top-level positions in his administration, including Environmental Protection Agency administorator Scott Pruitt.
The man who now runs the EPA—and has already eliminated dozens of rules that countered pollution of U.S. air, land, and waters—defended Oklahoma fossil-fuel interests when he was that state’s attorney general by suing the EPA more than a dozen times to prevent it enforcing emission regulations.
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French President Macron, meanwhile, hosted the One Planet summit in December, where a number of companies and investor groups made public pledges to be more transparent when it comes to environmental issues.
For its part, in December 2017, France passed a law that will ban domestic oil and gas production by 2040.
An important piece of context here is that France produce very little of either products (only 1 percent of the oil France uses is made in the country).
In July 2017, the country announced plans to ban all vehicles with tailpipes from its roads. Today, France produces more electric cars than any other European nation.
One reason Macron has supported passage of the most recent law is his recent pledge to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”
Now where have we heard something like that before?
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