France Pokes the Bear, Launches Trade Attack on US


Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, France’s president made comments widely interpreted as targeting the United States over its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord.

Emmanuel Macron did not name the host nation or President Donald Trump in his remarks, but indirectly referenced Trump’s ongoing effort to sever ties with the international environmental protection pact.

“We will no longer sign commercial agreements with powers that do not respect the Paris accord,” Macron told the global audience on Tuesday.

As Newsweek noted, the U.S. is now the only nation in the world not actively supporting the agreement. Syria was the longest holdout, entering the accord nearly a year ago.

Macron went on to endorse the lofty goals set forth in the document, which President Barack Obama signed in 2015.

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“In the face of climate change, there can be no shortcuts or a one-size-fits-all solution,” he said.

Citing “extreme weather phenomena” as evidence that immediate and worldwide action is needed, Macron said that “those who may deny climate change are suffering the consequences” as much as those working to reverse course.

“In refusing collective action, certain individuals only make themselves more vulnerable,” he added.

Macron has indirectly criticized Trump’s climate positions in the past, notably in the wake of an announcement last year that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris accord.

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The French president attracted global attention for a climate-science initiative called “Make Our Planet Great Again,” a play on Trump’s campaign slogan.

Macron has some clear popularity problems of his own, with much of the critique from the French people relating to his perceived inadequate response to climate change.

In recent comments on the matter, Greenpeace France Director General Jean-Francois Julliard alleged that Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe are merely paying lip service to those concerned about the environment.

Julliard said “the environment is not a priority” for the two leaders, asserting that they “just use it as window dressing without any real will to engage on environmental transition.”

Speaking to American reporters in December, Macron expressed hope that Trump would come around to supporting the international accord.

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“I’m not ready to renegotiate, but I’m ready to welcome him if he decides to come back,” Macron said. “I’m pretty sure that my friend President Trump will change his mind in the coming months or years.”

He said the absence of the U.S. in the agreement has sparked a feeling among other entities — public and private — to fill the gap.

“OK, we have to react and do something, because it’s impossible to leave this all to — a sort of dismantling of the Paris agreement,” he said in a CBS News interview.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
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