Eighteen climate scientists, 13 of them from the U.S., are emigrating to France to take advantage of President Macron’s $70 million
publicity stunt to embarrass President Trump scheme to save climate science from evil, right-wing deniers.
As I reported earlier this year, Macron announced the scheme on his Facebook page in February – even before he knew he’d won the French presidential election – perhaps as some kind of anti-Trump trolling exercise:
“This is a message for American researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers working on climate change…I do know how your new president has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives as he is extremely skeptical about climate change. I have no doubt about climate change… Please come to France. You are welcome. It’s your nation. We like innovation. We want innovative people. We want people working on climate change, energy, renewables, and new technologies. France is your nation.”
And now France’s hard-pressed taxpayers are going to have to pay for his idle boast.
According to France 24:
“The selected projects are of very high standards and deal with issues that are particularly important,” the jury said in a statement, noting its members had received a total of 1,822 applications, of which 1,123 came from the US. A second round of laureates will be announced “during the course of the spring of 2018”, it said.
“For me, the chance to work on some very exciting science questions with my French colleagues and not be so dependent on the crazy stuff that goes on in Congress and with the current administration is honestly very attractive,” Louis A. Derry, a professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell, said in an interview. “But it can be embarrassing to try and explain what is going on at home right now.”
Derry lamented a “devaluing of science by this administration.” And he said the tax plan Congress is considering would have a “catastrophic” effect on graduate students. “I don’t think the country is well served by this,” he said.
Professor Derry is probably quite right to be concerned over the future of climate “science” funding in the U.S. The National Science Foundation, for example, reports that grant applications mentioning the words “climate change” are down 40 percent this year. This suggests that scientists know which way their bread is buttered and are reluctant to put themselves out of work by mentioning the unmentionable as they reach out their grant begging bowls.
Most of the scientists emigrating to France have French connections already, which is nice for them.
Many of the climate scientists moving from the United States have spent time in France or are from Europe originally. Crucially, many already have some degree of facility with the French language. Some will split their time to keep their academic chairs in the United States.
But undoubtedly the biggest winners here are the U.S. taxpayers who will no longer be funding these scientists’ studies in the mostly dead-end field that is “climate change.” If the Frenchies want to pick up the tab instead, well that’s their problem.