Mon, Jun 19, 2017 - Page 14 News List

France makes good on US$34m pledge for climate experts

‘CONCRETE SOLUTIONS’:The government hopes its pledge will be matched by universities, doubling the total money to fund research up to five years

AFP, PARIS

France on Saturday made good on its promise to invite foreign climate change experts to the country, pledging 30 million euros (US$34 million) to fund the work of up to 50 researchers.

The move comes two weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron criticized US President Donald Trump for pulling out of the UN’s Paris climate agreement — calling on US climate scientists and entrepreneurs to “come and work in France on concrete solutions for climate.”

Newly elected Macron further needled Trump when he adapted the latter’s nationalist slogan used by Trump on his election campaign trail by urging defenders of the climate to “make our planet great again.”

On Saturday, the French Ministry of the Environment said in a statement that French Minister of Higher Education Frederique Vidal and investment commissioner Louis Schweitzer “have decided to set up a priority research program for the fight against climate change.”

The government is to fund the initiative with 30 million euros of public money to match what it hopes would be another 30 million from universities and other organizations, making the total funding up to 60 million euros.

This would fund 50 researchers over five years, the statement said.

Macron, a 39-year-old centrist former banker who took office last month after a meteoric rise, has been the most vocal of European leaders in criticizing Trump’s decision and in vowing to defend the Paris agreement.

He launched a Web site last week aimed at attracting researchers, entrepreneurs and others to France to pursue efforts to combat climate change, using a cheeky twist of Trump’s campaign slogan for the site’s name: www.makeourplanetgreatagain.fr.

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