Centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron on Friday released a video in English, inviting US scientists who feel their work is threatened under Donald Trump’s administration to move to France.
“Please come to France. You are welcome, it’s your nation,” Macron said in a short video message to US researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers. “We like innovation, we want innovative people. We want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technology. France is your nation.”
Macron, a former economy minister who launched an independent bid for the Elysée Palace last year, made his first appeal to US scientists during a key campaign rally on Saturday in the city of Lyon.
Returning to the issue via his Twitter account, this time directly addressing Americans, Macron said: “I do know your new president has decided to jeopardise your budget, your initiatives as he is extremely sceptical about climate change. I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue.”
Trump has on several occasions called global warming an “expensive hoax”, once suggesting it was a concept invented by China to hurt the US economy. He later said his claim that climate change was a Chinese invention was a “joke”.
Protecting COP21 agreement
During his successful presidential race, Trump’s campaign called the COP 21 climate agreement – an accord to limit global warming that was signed by 200 countries just outside of Paris in 2015 – a “bad deal”. The US president has vowed to roll back restrictions on fossil fuel production in the States and to refocus the work of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on “clean air and water”.
US scientists, worried about budget cutbacks under Trump and over politicians tempted to “reject overwhelming evidence” in favor of climate change, have organised a march in Washington, DC on April 22, pledging to “walk out of the lab and walk into the streets”.
Macron, who used the hashtag #ScienceMarch in his video message, hopes they might continue their journey from DC all the way across the Atlantic.
A pro-business politician who came under fire in 2016 for undermining French labour unions, Macron nevertheless skews left on many social issues. He has pledged to invest massively in education and renewable energy if he becomes president this spring.
In his video, he also addressed French and European scientists, promising to “preserve budgets” and reinforce “public and private investment” in order to “deliver in line with the COP21” agreement.
Macron is not a member of an established political party, but recent opinion polls suggest he could claim enough votes to clear the first round of France’s presidential election on April 23. The second round is scheduled for May 7.