PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron, who once declared “Make The Planet Great Again” but whose climate agenda got knocked off course by persistent street protests, is under new pressure to fight climate change after the Green Party did well in Sunday’s local elections.
France’s Green party and its left-wing allies made significant gains in the second round of voting, capturing cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg and Besançon.
To show that he is taking the gains seriously, Macron is meeting Monday with a citizens’ group that he convened earlier this year in response to criticism that he wasn’t doing enough on the climate.
The citizens’ group is giving him a new list of climate proposals drawn from an ambitious report it compiled, which includes recommendations on fighting CO2 emissions by weening the French off solo car rides and proposing alternatives such as electric cars, as well as capping the harmful effects of air travel.
The group reserved most of its fire on travel, which produces 30% of greenhouse gases in France.
The yellow vest economic justice protests that brought France to its knees for months knocked some of Macron’s green agenda off track as it was was triggered by opposition to a new fuel tax that he planned to help in the climate fight.
Earlier this year, Macron tried to woo green voters by calling the battle against climate change and environmental destruction “the fight of the century.” The words came during a February visit to a melting glacier in the French Alps but it was condemned as a hollow electoral stunt by environmental campaigners. Critics accused Macron of using the icy photo-op to burnish his government’s green credentials ahead of the local elections.
Follow all AP coverage of climate change at https://apnews.com/Climate.