Just before the opening of a major climate summit in the French capital, President Macron awarded 18 climate change-focused research grants to researchers from all over the planet. Thirteen have gone to American researchers, and their funding is guaranteed for the entire duration of President Trump’s first (and perhaps last) term in office.
Dubbed the "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants, they aim to boost European climate change research while mitigating the damaging effects of the US federal government. For the first round of awards, 50 different applicants will be chosen, all funded by the state and various research institutions to the tune of $70 million. Next year, a second round of grants will take place that will be co-funded by Germany.
“France and Europe will be the place where we will decide how to make our planet great again,” Macron explained to his audience at a tech event in Paris.
Macron’s been one of Europe’s most passionate climate advocates, and his words have so far been followed closely by action.
Shortly after the inauguration of President Trump, and just before he was elected as the President of the French Republic, he released a video inviting American climate scientists to come to France to “make our planet great again.” This was a clear rebuke of Trump’s “make America great again” mantra.
A scheme was quickly set up that guaranteed that for at least four years, climate scientists will be given four-year-long grants to conduct their research on behalf of the French government. As reported back in July, it worked: hundreds upon hundreds of applications flooded in, with no sign of stopping. The program was so successful it’s since been expanded to non-American academics.
Now, shortly before the One Planet Summit in Paris, Macron has awarded the first of his Make Our Planet Great Again grants to 18 different researchers from both the US and elsewhere. Overall, there have been 1,822 applications from across 100 countries, but so far, most of the applicants, and winners, are American.