Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron hasn't shied away from his criticism of Donald Trump's position on climate change in recent weeks.
Now, a day after the Trump administration released a video laying out the case for president's decision on the climate change pact, Macron's government is following suit.
On Friday, France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs shared an edited version of the American video on Twitter that sought to highlight inaccuracies.
“We've seen the @WhiteHouse video about the #ParisAccord,” the tweet says. “We disagree — so we've changed it. #MakeThePlanetGreatAgain.”
The French video has been retweeted nearly 14,000 times and “liked” nearly 20,000 times.
While the American video was called “The Paris accord is a bad deal for America,” the headline of the French version is: “Leaving the Paris accord is a bad deal for America — and the world.”
The 40-second French video challenges the major points laid out in the American video, using similar slides and the same musical track.
United States: Argues that the climate deal “undermines U.S. competitiveness and jobs.”
France: “Many major U.S. companies from all sectors, such as Exxon Mobil, Schneider Electric or Microsoft, disagree.”
U.S.: Accuses the accord of creating a “U.N. slush fund” and says President Barack Obama committed $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund without congressional authorization.
France: Changes that slide to say the accord created a “U.N. green climate fund to invest into low-emission and climate-resilient development.” The video also notes that the $3 billion number is “less per capita than many other countries, including Germany, France, the UK and Sweden.”
U.S.: Claims that the Paris agreement was “badly negotiated” and accuses the deal of imposing “unrealistic” carbon emissions targets on the United States while giving China “a free pass.” To make the point more forcefully, the video includes Obama's signature.
France: Changes the word “badly” to “comprehensively” and calls the accord a “balanced and flexible agreement” that is designed to ensure that each country contributes equally.
U.S.: Claims the deal “accomplishes little” and cites a Massachusetts Institute of Technology study to argue that the accord's impact on the climate “would be negligible.”
France: Calls the deal “a step in the right direction" and cites a line from the MIT that says if nothing is done temperatures might rise to “catastrophic” levels.
Trump defended his decision to withdraw from the climate agreement by arguing that the pact was a "a bad deal" for the United States that would bludgeon industry and kill jobs.
Announcing his decision at the White House on Thursday, the president called the move a “reassertion of America’s sovereignty.”
Macron hasn't shied away from confronting the Trump administration's policies. Within hours of Trump's decision to withdraw from the climate pact, the French leader delivered a speech in English calling on the United States to “remain confident” that quickly went viral.
The speech was made at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president.
“To all scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland,” he said. “I call on them — come and work here with us to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment. I can assure you, France will not give up the fight.”
“Don’t be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no planet B,” he added.
We all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again. pic.twitter.com/IIWmLEtmxj
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 1, 2017
Macron's viral response to Trump's withdrawal sparked praise on social media, both for his confident, global message and for the quickness with which it was delivered.
“It was adroitly done,” Thomas Gomart, the director of the French Institute for International Relations, told the Guardian. “It showed a self-confidence, even a form of insolence … In terms of foreign relations, the early stages of Macron’s presidency have undeniably been a success.”
Macron's willingness to stand up to Trump began — in the eyes of many Trump critics at home and abroad — when the French president forcefully gripped Trump's hand before a NATO meeting last week. He later admitted that the confrontational handshake was “a moment of truth” that he'd planned ahead of time, the Guardian reported.
“We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones,” he told the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche,
Taken together, Macron's willingness to speak out against the American president has endeared him to his French supporters and turned him into a social media celebrity, The Washington Post's James McAuley reported.
And yet, the French president's posturing may have nudged President Trump toward pulling out of the Paris agreement, according to The Washington Post's Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Michael Birnbaum.
“Hearing smack-talk from the Frenchman 31 years his junior irritated and bewildered Trump, aides said,” The Post reported.
“A few days later, Trump got his revenge. He proclaimed from the Rose Garden, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
While Trump's decision maybe have emboldened the French leader further, McAuley noted that newfound celebrity won't necessarily translate into global influence.
“There is the feeling that, once more, Macron is incredibly lucky,” Dominique Moïsi, a foreign policy expert at the Institut Montaigne, a Paris-based think tank close to Macron, told The Post. “Inside, all his adversaries are collapsing one after the other. And outside, there is an American president that makes him look great without even having to do anything.”