PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron released a selfie video on social media platforms Saturday asking the public to send him questions about what France should do about climate change and biodiversity.
Thousands of responses quickly poured in. Several were hostile or questioned his sincerity, but they also included rigorous questions about fossil fuel subsidies, sea pollution and nuclear energy.
Macron, who will take part in the U.N. climate talks opening in Egypt on Sunday, promised to respond to the questions starting next week.
In the video, he read from a letter from the public asking why he doesn’t declare an “environmental state of emergency.” He said the letter “prompted me to ask questions about what we are doing about this ecological challenge, the challenge of our generation.”
Early in his presidency, Macron pledged to make tackling climate change issues a top priority, but he has come under widespread criticism for not instituting enough tangible change.
At the COP27 talks in Egypt on Monday, Macron is expected to discuss climate-related financing, protecting forests, Africa’s Great Green Wall, and other climate adaptation measures, according to his office.
He’s also expected to raise the importance – and challenge – of sticking to climate commitments as Europe faces an energy crisis stemming from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Those are all key issues at the climate talks at the Red Sea coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which are expected to include more than 120 world leaders and run from Nov. 6-18.
Laurent Fabius, the French diplomat who presided over the U.N. talks in 2015 that produced the Paris climate agreement, made a plea Saturday to those gathering in Egypt: “Keep in mind that the most beautiful announcements mean nothing if they’re not backed up by precise and rapid policies and actions.”
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