French President Emmanuel Macron borrowed from President Trump’s famous political catchphrase as he doled out environmental research grants known as the “Make Our Planet Great Again” awards, a direct swipe at the administration for pulling out of the Paris climate accord.
The research funding, Mr. Macron said, is meant to offer scientists and other academics the chance to come to France and study global warming with the support of the French government.
Thirteen of the 18 recipients announced late Monday hail from the U.S. The awards were handed out at this year’s climate gathering in Paris — a meeting for which Mr. Trump reportedly did not receive an invitation.
“France and Europe will be the place where we will decide how to make our planet great again,” the French leader said.
Mr. Macron was one of the most outspoken critics of Mr. Trump’s decision last summer to pull out of the Paris climate deal. That move has left the U.S. as the only country within the United Nations to not be a part of the landmark accord, which was finalized in December 2015 by then-President Obama.
As part of the deal, the U.S. promised to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025 when compared to 2005 levels. Mr. Trump withdrew from the deal because he said it was unfair to the U.S. Meanwhile, the rest of the world now seems content to leave the U.S. behind, and Mr. Macron is making clear that he’ll try to woo top American researchers to France to continue their climate research.
One of the winners, climate scientist Camille Parmesan, will move to France to conduct her work over the next five years. She’ll work at an experimental ecology station in the Pyrenees examining climate change’s effects on wildlife.
Mr. Macron’s grant “gave me such a psychological boost, to have that kind of support, to have the head of state saying I value what you do,” she said.
Mr. Macron used the summit to seize the global spotlight, capitalizing on Trump’s isolationist policies and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s domestic weakness to position himself as the world’s moral compass on climate change.
“We’re not moving fast enough,” Mr. Macron said, warning that the 2015 Paris climate accord is “fragile.”
“It’s time to act and move faster and win this battle” against climate change, he said, basking in the attention after gathering more than 50 world leaders and others in Paris.
Bill Gates, Richard Branson and other energy executives and investment fund leaders announced a dozen international projects emerging from the summit that will inject money into efforts to curb climate change.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim won rousing applause when he announced that his agency would stop financing oil and gas projects in two years.
The summit, co-hosted by the U.N., the World Bank and Mr. Macron, was held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was ratified by 170 countries. More than 50 heads of state and government took part.
Mr. Trump wasn’t invited, but he was ubiquitous.
One by one, officials including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted the world will shift to cleaner fuels and reduce emissions regardless of whether the Trump administration pitches in.
Central to the summit was countering Mr. Trump’s main argument that the 2015 Paris accord on reducing global emissions would hurt U.S. business.
Mr. Macron, a 39-year-old former investment banker, argues that the big businesses and successful economies of the future will be making and using renewable energy instead of oil.
The projects announced Tuesday include a program for eight U.S. states to develop electric vehicles, an investment fund for the hurricane-hit Caribbean and money from Mr. Gates’ foundation to help farmers adapt to climate change and develop low-carbon technology.
The projects also aim to speed up the end of the combustion engine to reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change.
⦁ Τηισ στορψ ισ βασεδ ιν παρτ ον δισπατχηεσ βψ Τηε Ασσοχιατεδ Πρεσσ.