In response to US president Donald Trump pulling out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, French president Emmanuel Macron has criticised the announcement as ‘a mistake’. In a statement made on Friday, Macron tackled Trump’s decision to leave the agreement and refuse all implementation of its requirements.
Macron was vastly praised by media outlets for his sarcastic reference to making ‘the planet great again’, and for his proposal to host American scientists in Europe.
“To all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say: they will find in France a second homeland. I call on them: come and work here with us.”
Before my American friends jump on the next plane to Paris, let us just set the record straight on incentives to go to one country or the other. France’s unemployment rate is at 10 per cent, twice that of the US, has higher taxes and very strict labour regulations. And considering how the economy is doing in France, I wouldn’t suggest to ambitious engineers to set foot in the land of baguettes and frogs. And if you do, don’t be too successful because otherwise you’ll land in that cozy 45 per cent tax bracket they all dream about (not even mentioning wealth taxes).
As for being a scientist, it’s definitely not the République’s R&D budget that is the most attractive thing about the country, because even though the last government made the biggest increase in research spending in the last 15 years, its budget was only allowed €7.9 billion. Compare this to the United States, which after cuts still sees an investment in R&D of over $155 billion. And we haven’t even mentioned regulatory disadvantages. As many member states of the European Union, France bans the use of GMO’s or hydraulic fracturing, and scientists constantly see their work questioned by politicians (a recent example being that of the controversy behind the legality of glyphosate), despite the evidence they provide.
The Paris Climate Agreement is unscientific by its own standards: a completely unrealistic and patronising drag on the economy which should never have existed in the first place. Seeing European leaders devastated that an accord which they included without any single vote by any parliament has now been stripped of its most prominent signatory, is immensely gratifying. Seeing the How Dare Anyone Dispute Our Plans? crowd powerless, what is not like?
No Emmanuel, nobody wants to go to France. And nobody will.
Cool zingers though, I guess.
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