On June 1, the Trump administration made the utterly irresponsible decision to exit the Paris climate accord. Predictably, global reactions are almost unanimously negative.
But what’s the scene in Paris itself?
There, Anne Hidalgo—the mayor of the city where the accord was negotiated—has convened an international forum called #Women4Climate, which is working to address the climate crisis. Meanwhile, new French president Emanuel Macron has pledged to double French solar and wind energy capacity by 2022.
Macron has even gone on TV to make a recruiting pitch to US scientists and clean energy technologists to relocate to France, saying “you are welcome here.” This raises the very real and frightening possibility of an exodus of scientific and technical expertise from the US resulting from Trump’s exit from Paris.
Whether US scientists and engineers take up Macron’s offer or not, Trump’s misguided attempt to revive fossil fuels will undermine American innovation and technological advances—even while the rest of the world benefits from a growing clean energy economy. The White House’s open disdain for climate science will embolden other countries to make pitches similar to Macron’s.
Why shouldn’t they?