Eighteen climate scientists from the U.S. and elsewhere hit the jackpot Monday as French President Emmanuel Macron awarded them millions of euros in grants to relocate to France for the rest of Donald Trump’s presidential term. The “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants — a nod to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan — are part of Macron’s efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord. More than 5,000 people from about 100 countries expressed interest in the grants. A majority of the applicants — and 13 of the 18 winners — were U.S.-based researchers…. Trump has expressed skepticism about global warming and said the Paris accord would hurt U.S. business by requiring a reduction in climate-damaging emissions. “We will be there to replace” U.S. financing of climate research, Macron told the winners in Paris on Monday. “If we want to prepare for the changes of tomorrow, we need science,” he said, promising to put in place a global climate change monitoring system among other climate innovations.
Donald Trump may have decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, but it seems he may well be the only one who believes his decision to be the final word. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, state and local governments haven’t pulled out, the private sector hasn’t pulled out, and American climate scientists aren’t about to pull out. The President may have endorsed the Far Right fantasy that global climate change isn’t a very real and pressing problem, but truth > politics. The world has resolved to move on with or without him, as it should. His truth, tailored as it is merely to support his lust for power and control, can be and is being ignored as irrelevant.
French President Emmanuel Macron has decided that if Donald Trump won’t lead the parade, he will. His “Make the Planet Great Again” grants are a brilliant attempt to troll the President…and advance the cause of science. Of course, it’s not as if Trump possesses the self-awareness to recognize that he’s been ridiculed. The man’s a legend in his own mind, if nowhere else.
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 60 million euros ($70 million) from the state and French research institutes.
Initially aimed at American researchers, the research grants were expanded to other non-French climate scientists, according to organizers. Candidates need to be known for working on climate issues, have completed a thesis and propose a project that would take between three to five years.
The time frame would cover Trump’s current presidential term.
From where I sit, this is a perfectly (not so very) subtle attempt to point out the absurdity of pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. With the rest of the world committed to combatting global climate change, taking the world’s most powerful economy out of the mix makes no sense. Unless, of course, you translate Trump’s “America First” as “@#$% You, World”…which is how the international community interprets his petulant disregard for the concerns of the world outside our borders.
In the end, Trump’s figurative middle finger extended to the rest of the world won’t matter. As Schwarzenegger said, other companies, governments, and climate scientists can “pick up the slack.” And they will. What we should be upset about is a President willing to embarrass America on the international stage. When the leader of the free world lacks the integrity to uphold the commitments this country has made, America looks like a country which doesn’t give a damn.
So much for American Exceptionalism, eh?
Nice work, America.