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France Awards ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ Climate Grants

President Trump and French President Macron during a meeting at the U.N. General Assembly in September. (Evan Vucci / AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vocal about his opposition to many of President Trump’s policies, has announced that France will replace every dollar that the United States withdrew from climate change research in leaving the Paris Climate Accord last June.

Macron seems to be riffing off Trump’s campaign slogan, naming the research awards “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants.

Thirteen of the 18 recipients of the grants announced this week were American, according to The Guardian, which said that the money would be used in part to relocate research projects to France for the remainder of Trump’s term.

“The research of the winning recipients focuses on pollution, hurricanes and clouds. A new round of the competition will be launched next year, alongside Germany. About 50 projects will be chosen overall, and funded with €60m ($70 million) from the state and French research institutes,” The Guardian wrote.

The 18 new grants each are reported to be worth up to $1.7 million.

Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord—a 2015 agreement aimed at combating global warming—created a disadvantage for American climate scientists and the United Nations, whose climate research funding has historically come from the U.S.

In anticipation of making the awards, Macron earlier this year invited potential applicants to vie for the chance to conduct their research at French institutions such as the Sorbonne.

The Hill reports:

Macron invited U.S. researchers, and soon other non-French climate researchers, to compete for the opportunity to conduct their work at French institutions like La Sorbonne or Paris-Saclay.

“These are the places you have to come work in to develop new initiatives for our planet,” the “Make Our Planet Great Again” website reads.

Trump has called the Paris climate agreement “unfair” to U.S. interests and promised to pull the U.S. out of the accord during his presidential campaign. The U.S. became the only nation to not be signed onto the deal when Nicaragua and Syria both signed the pact.

Macron was immediately critical of Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord and in November announced that France would cover the U.S. share of funding for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Trump said the withdrawal was because the accord was “very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States” and that he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

The American president has a history of climate change skepticism and denial, once tweeting that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.” After Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, the White House refused to confirm whether or not the president still believes climate change to be a hoax.

Emily Wells
​Emily Wells is an Ear to the Ground blogger at Truthdig. As a journalist, she began as a crime reporter at the Pulitzer-winning daily newspaper, The Press-Enterprise...
Emily Wells

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