You might remember at the beginning of June this year when one Donald Trump announced that the Paris Climate Agreement — which only requires that countries make a pledge to lower carbon emissions to a level of their own choosing — was unfair to the United States and pulled the country from the deal. At the time, the rest of the world doubled down on commitments to environmental causes with even China (the biggest carbon producer in the world) pledging to a lower emission than they had originally agreed to. It was one of the first times the entire world came together to go, “Wow, we really can’t rely on or trust the United States under Trump rule.” #AmericaFirst.
The day Trump withdrew the U.S., several world leaders made statements of condemnation for the act including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British PM Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron was particularly direct, re-purposing Trump’s campaign platform of “Make America Great Again” and turning it into his own commitment to “Make Our Planet Great Again.” At the time, we all freaked out a little at the level of shade the French president was willing to throw at someone with a temper like Trump’s. We were all feeling the Macron love.
We all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again. pic.twitter.com/IIWmLEtmxj
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 1, 2017
That wasn’t just tough talk though; Macron has created an environmental initiative, aptly named Make Our Planet Great Again, that offers grants and opportunities to researchers, businesses, students and NGOs from across the globe for environmental projects. The basic goals of the plan are to hold countries to their Paris commitments, make France carbon neutral by 2050, and conduct and mobilize research to combat climate change world-wide. The best part? The website calls out Donald Trump by name as the motivator behind France’s strengthened commitment to the environment.
Camille Parmesan is a researcher from the University of Texas who is using one of Macron’s grants to study how wild plants and animals respond to climate change and biodiversity loss as a result of human activity and climate change. She says that her work is key in proving to people — specifically Americans — that climate change is actually real.
“I give a lot of public outreach lectures everywhere and in the USA, I have to spend half the time convincing people that climate change is happening,” she told Your Morning, “When I do public outreach lectures in France or England or Germany, I can go straight into ‘Why is this a problem?’ and ‘What are some things that we can do about it?'”
There’s a lot of resistance to the idea that our planet is warming as a result of human actions and carbon dioxide over-production. Hopefully this shady-named program can help pave the way toward a greener planet for all of us. Who knows? Maybe three years from now, we’ll see the U.S. sign back onto the Paris Agreement and return the pages on climate change to the EPA’s website (yeah, they did that).