- During a speech to Congress on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for the US to help protect the planet and rejoin the Paris climate accord.
- Republicans groaned and dismissed Macron’s message about climate change, while Democrats cheered.
WASHINGTON – French President Emmanuel Macron irked Republicans during his address to a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday by mentioning climate science and the need to preserve the planet.
Macron touched on various subjects throughout the speech, including climate change – specifically his desire for the US to rejoin the Paris climate accord and commit to curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
The White House announced in June that the US would withdraw from the Paris agreement, fulfilling President Donald Trump’s long-held campaign promise.
“Let us work together in order to make our planet great again and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our Earth,” Macron said, apparently in a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”
“I am sure one day the United States will come back and join the Paris agreement,” Macron added, telling the audience of lawmakers that “there is no Planet B.”
The reactions during the speech from Republicans and Democrats were polar opposites.
Democrats applauded and cheered at Macron’s remarks. At one point, Rep. Joe Crowley of New York shouted “Vive la France!” from his seat in the chamber.
At mentions of climate science and the Paris agreement, many Republicans did not clap or stand, with many delivering dramatic eye-rolls.
“French President is a socialist militarist globalist science-alarmist,” Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky tweeted. “The dark future of the American Democratic Party.”
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana told Business Insider that instead of being overall sceptics of climate change, many Republicans just did not like the specifics of the Paris agreement.
“I think there’s a recognition that the climate accords are symbolic,” Cassidy said. “It’s given a free pass to the world’s largest polluters.”
Cassidy added that he thought the Paris agreement allowed for too many countries to renege on their word but that if such things were fixed, more Republicans would get on board.
“This is an accord I want to be part of, and so if we’re willing to address that squarely, I think there’s going to be a lot of interest,” Cassidy said. “If we’re going to paper over it with goals that nobody is reaching except maybe the US – and we’re doing it with natural gas – if we have that honest discussion, I think there’ll be a lot of interest in pursuing it.”
During his announcement last June, Trump said the US would “start to negotiate” and see whether it could “make a deal that’s fair.”
“If we can, that’s great,” Trump said. “And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
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