Throughout Emmanuel Macron's French presidential campaign, the young upstart politician repeatedly promised to give harbor to American scientists who felt their work was threatened by President Donald Trump's policies. Now, Macron has taken his first concrete step towards fulfilling that promise.
A new website, titled “Make Our Planet Great Again,” allows scientists to apply for four-year grants to do their research in France. While ostensibly open to scientists around the globe, the program makes clear that its intention is to combat Trump's policies — specifically, his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The website's homepage leads with a message “to all responsible citizens,” and takes clear aim at Trump's climate policies:
On the 1st of June, President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement, which gathered more than 190 countries united against climate change. This decision is unfortunate but it only reinforced our determination. Don’t let it weaken yours. We are ONE planet and Together, we can make a difference.
France has always led fights for human rights. Today, more than ever, we are determined to lead (and win!) this battle on climate change.
While largely geared towards scientists and researchers, the website also offers programs for teachers, entrepreneurs, and students who are dedicated to fighting climate change.
Macron first proposed opening France's doors to American climate researchers in a video message posted to Twitter during the February Science March in Washington D.C.:
“I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget [and] your initiatives as he is extremely skeptical about climate change,” Macron explained. “I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue.”
“Please, come to France, you are welcome,” he said, speaking in English. Macron's promise to American scientists appears to be more than just campaign bluster.