Whatever you think of the rest of his political stances, it’s fairly clear that French President Emmanuel Macron is keen to portray France as a defender of science, both rhetorically and practically. This theme carried over to his Wednesday address to a joint session of Congress, in which he spoke to a full House and Senate, as well as Trump’s Cabinet and Vice President Pence.
After somewhat placating Trump earlier this week at the White House, the French offered an eloquent rebuke to the American President and much of the GOP – not just politically, but on a scientific level too. Here’s what he had to say on the subject.
On The Fight Against Ignorance
“I believe that against ignorance, we have education. Against inequalities, development. Against cynicism, trust and good faith. Against fanaticism, culture. Against disease, medicine. Against the threats on the planet, science.”
On Climate Change
“We are just citizens of the same planet, so we will have to face it… With business leaders and local communities, let us work together in order to make our planet great again, and create new jobs, and new opportunities, ones safeguarding our Earth.”
Apart from repeating a common refrain against Trump’s isolationist “Make America Great Again” motif, Macron here is inferring, quite rightly, that investing in environmentally sensitive jobs, including solar and wind power for example, more jobs will be created.
In fact, it’s an oft-quoted fallacy by climate skeptics or deniers that dealing with climate change will cost jobs and hurt the economy, when data clearly shows that the opposite is true. Not only is solar, for example, one of the fastest growing industries in the US, but investing in this industry – and related industries – will provide way more revenue and savings that the costs of implementation and operation themselves.
That’s not to say that the inherent threat of climate change, and the urgency required to address it, wasn’t also emphasized in Macron’s speech as well.