The French government is making major overtures towards US-based climate scientists to relocate to France, in the face of a less hospitable environment for their expertise in Trump America. The news came as two French utilities made significant committments to solar power and energy efficiency.
French President Emmanuel Macron plans to award multi-year grants for several US-based scientists to relocate, his office said on Monday on the eve of a climate summit hosted by the president to raise finances to counter global warming.
Macron unveiled the “Make our Planet Great Again” grants after President Donald Trump in June said he was pulling the United States out of an international accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was brokered in Paris in 2015.
“You will now settle in, develop projects, enrich French, European research, because we’ve decided to give even bigger resources and to fully recognize what you are doing,” Macron said in a speech at Station F, a start-up incubator in Paris.
Macron was addressing the winners of the grants, some of whom attended his speech. Prominent U.S. universities, including Princeton, Stanford and Harvard, were among those from which the winning researchers were selected, the presidency said.
Macron said in a CBS News interview on Monday the US decision to unilaterally quit the Paris accord had provided an impulse for action by governments and the private sector.
“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 told the U.S. network in Paris.
Meanwhile French state-controlled utility EDF on Monday said it would invest EUR25bn to develop 30 GW of solar power capacity in France between 2020 and 2035. In addition, daily Newspaper Les Echos quoted the chief executive of Engie, Isabelle Kocher, as saying her company would invest EUR1bn to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.