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Climate change - France

Macron hits back at Greta Thunberg for antagonism

French president Emmanuel Macron, New York, 23 Sept.
French president Emmanuel Macron, New York, 23 Sept. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The French President Emmanuel Macron has criticised a complaint against 5 countries, including France, filed at the United Nations by Greta Thunberg and 15 other young activists for climate inaction. 

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The French president said their action was not the most efficient way of combating climate change and that “radical positions” inevitably antagonise.

The complaint concerns France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Turkey.

‘Let them go to Poland’

At a climate march protest on Saturday in Paris, many young people carried banners criticising Macron’s record in combating climate change.

But on Monday, on a plane to New York, Macron told journalists that young people protesting in France should consider going to Poland as it was the country which, in 2015, blocked an EU plan to aim for zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Yesterday Thunberg gave an impassioned and emotional address at the UN conference on climate change.

She accused political leaders of inertia, saying, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” 

She ended her speech with a warning: "If you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you."

France’s minister for Ecological Transition, Brune Poirson was also troubled by Thunberg’s declaration.

“I am not sure that you mobilise people with despair, with what is almost hatred, setting people against each other,” she told French radio station France Inter.

French Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, when asked on television if Greta Thunberg had gone too far, replied, “Certainly.”

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