Paris, France — By declaring last night that no government has done more for ecology, Emmanuel Macron tried to hide the gap between the ambitious proposals of citizens and his weak ecological record: reintroduction of neonicotinoids, extension of glyphosate, financial support without eco-conditionalities in the aeronautical and automotive sector, etc.

By systematically transferring responsibility for actions he does not take onto others, the President has definitively buried the hopes of the future Citizen’s Climate Convention Law, which will be presented in January to the Council of Ministers.

Questioned on neonicotinoids and the legal regression that their reintroduction constitutes, Macron blames global competition and Belgian beet growers. Questioned on the end of advertising on the most polluting products, he rejects the fault on digital platforms and online advertising. Questioned on the end of the most polluting new vehicles, he puts the blame on the European Commission.

While Macron mandated the Convention to achieve ambitious objectives in the fight against climate change (- 40% by 2030), and the European Council raised the objectives to – 55% by 2030, the President is now coming back on his own promises. Many measures have been gutted, postponed indefinitely or even, for the vast majority of them, completely abandoned altogether.

This is the case for very concrete proposals such as the moratorium on 5G, reduced VAT on train tickets, the penalty on the weight of vehicles (increased from 1.4 to 1.8 tonnes), or the ban domestic flights when the train connection is feasible in less than 4 hours, the threshold of which has been reduced to 2:30, or the vegetarian choice in the canteens, which has become a simple experiment. Each time, the President has decided to do less, too little, sometimes almost nothing.

The tree of the final announcement of a referendum — which must allow our Constitution to integrate climate and biodiversity issues — must not hide the forest of impoverished or abandoned proposals. The referendum project is certainly a historical victory for environmentalists, but we will ensure that the formulation proposed by the CCC is enshrined in the Constitution, and that this referendum proposal is not just a trick to better hide the inaction.

In reality, Emmanuel Macron is the very successor of outdated politicians, who try to repaint themselves green in lieu of actual ecological measures. Now is not the time for symbols, but for action. Stuck in the defense of short-term economic interests, Macron failed to live up to the political responsibility of our generation, that of environmentalists: leaving a sustainable planet to our children, while combining democracy, social justice and environmental action. This is the challenge for the coming decade.


Robin Vochelet

Robin Vochelet is a former Global Green News contributor. He is currently pursuing graduate studies at the National University of Singapore, and previously attended McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

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