France wants America's best climate scientists because our government won't want them

France has launched Make Our Planet Great Again grants to lure top scientists, and they took 13 Americans

By Matthew Rozsa
Published December 12, 2017 12:31PM (EST)
Donald Trump; Melania Trump; French President Emmanuel Macron; Brigitte Macron   (AP/Ian Langsdon)
Donald Trump; Melania Trump; French President Emmanuel Macron; Brigitte Macron (AP/Ian Langsdon)

French President Emmanuel Macron is giving millions of euros in grant money to 13 American climate scientists so that they can do their work in his country for the remainder of President Donald Trump's term.

Dubbed the "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants, they were announced by Macron in June, shortly after Trump made it clear that America would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, according to The Guardian. Although more than 5,000 scientists from more than 100 countries applied for the grants, they were ultimately given to just 18 scientists — 13 of whom hailed from the United States.

As Macron told the winners in Paris on Monday, he views it as his government's role to "be there to replace" the American funding for climate change research that has been lost as a result of Trump's anti-environmentalist policies. He added, "If we want to prepare for the changes of tomorrow, we need science."

The candidates who were chosen needed to meet a number of requirements: They had to be known for their research on climate change issues, have completed a thesis and offer a project proposal that would take between three years and five years.

Macron has found other ways to snub Trump over his anti-scientific views on climate change. He made a point of not inviting Trump to a climate change summit in Paris this week, according to Time. Although he said that he would invite Trump if the president decided to "join the club" and work to address man-made climate change, there are no signs that Trump has altered his climate change denialism.

"You cannot renegotiate with more than 180 or 190 countries. You disagree with that, but what’s your plan B? I don’t know your plan B," Macron told Time in November, regarding Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Climate Change Donald Trump Emmanuel Macron Global Warming