(CN) – French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has extended an invitation to U.S. climate scientists to consider France their new home in the wake of Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the White House.
In a video posted Friday on his Twitter account, the centrist, pro-business candidate vowed to increase public investment in renewable energy and other initiatives related to combating climate change.
Standing on a spare stage as a large crowd cheered and waved French flags, Macron noted U.S. President Donald Trump’s skepticism about climate change and his vocal support of the nation’s fossil fuels industry.
While admitting that no one can read another world leader’s mind, Macron told ” American researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers working on climate change … I do know how your new President now has decided to jeopardize your budget (and) your initiatives.”
Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change, appointed several climate change deniers and people with links to fossil fuel companies to key environmental posts in his cabinet, and has threatened to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Immediately after his inauguration in January Trump ordered scientists working for the federal government not to speak publicly about their work. The gag order has prompted the creation of “rogue” social media accounts by workers at several agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and the National Parks Service.
In addition, a March for Science is being planned in Washington, D.C. in April to coincide with the annual celebration of Earth Day.
In his video, Macron assured those in the U.S scientific community “I have no doubt about climate change and how committed we have to be regarding this issue.
“So I have two messages,” he continued. “The very first one is for the French and European researchers – we will preserve our budgets, we will reinforce our investment, our public and private investment, in order to do more and accelerate our initiatives in order to deliver in line with COP21 [the Paris summit on climate change].
“And second, a message for you guys – please come to France. You are welcome. It is your nation,” he said.
“We like innovation, we want innovative people, we want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technologies. France is your nation,” he said.
Macron is among the top candidates in France’s two-round April-May presidential election. His rousing video was released the same day the European Commission endorsed the current French government’s plan to allocate more money for solar and hydroelectric projects and their integration into the nation’s electricity grid.
The French government said new solar initiatives would receive more than $9 billion in support over the next 20 years, while hydropower schemes are backed by a 20-year $530 million commitment.
In endorsing the plan, the European Commission said these steps would help France meet its 2020 goal of producing 23 percent of its energy needs from renewable resources.
“These French initiatives will stimulate a greater use of renewable energy sources and provide legal certainty to the sector, while limiting the use of state support to the minimum,” Margrethe Vestager, a commissioner in charge of competition issues, said in a statement cheering the move.
“This is a very important balance for Europe in the pursuit of our environmental objectives,” Vestager said.