France ‘corrects’ White House video on Paris accord

Foreign ministry releases edited version of White House video that said Paris climate deal was bad for American jobs.

French tweet on climate deal - Twitter screengrab
The tweet includes a now-popular hashtag, 'Make Our Planet Great Again' [Al Jazeera]

A day after Donald Trump decided to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal, the French government has cheekily hit back by releasing a pointed fact check of the US president’s claims about the landmark agreement.

France’s finance ministry posted a tweet with an embedded link to a video that amounted to a wry, but very public rebuttal of Trump’s assertions.

On Thursday, the White House had tweeted, “The Paris Accord is a bad deal for Americans,” and linked to a video which said the agreement “undermines” US competitiveness and jobs, was “badly negotiated” by former President Barack Obama and “accomplishes little.”

In its surprise response on Friday, France’s foreign ministry tweeted, “We’ve seen the @WhiteHouse video about the #ParisAccord. We disagree – so we’ve changed it.”

Its own edited video uses the same format – background, font, images and music – as the White House but includes what French officials believe are the facts to debunk the White House claims.

In the new video, statements such as “The Paris Accord is a bad deal for America” are changed to “Leaving the Paris Accord is a bad deal for America – and the world.”

The video also refers to major companies such as ExxonMobil and Microsoft which “disagree” that the accord will “undermine” US jobs. It also quotes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions.

READ MORE: US climate pullout – What happens next?

The tweet includes a now-popular hashtag “Make Our Planet Great Again” – a cheeky adaptation of the nationalist slogan used by Trump on his election campaign trail, “Make America Great Again”.

The video is also notable for being in English. France is famous for championing the use of the French language, and its leaders are always under pressure to speak only in French, even if they are fluent in English, when they are in the public arena.

But newly elected president Emmanuel Macron has made a point of speaking in English, apparently seeking to make direct contact with a wider audience.

On Thursday, he released a video in English as well as French in which he criticised Trump for pulling out of the Paris accord and coined the “Make Our Planet Great Again” slogan.

He also invited American scientists, businesspeople and citizens who are frustrated by the White House’s stance to “come and work here with us” on finding a solution to the climate crisis.

“They will find in France a second homeland,” Macron said.

READ MORE: World reacts to Trump’s Paris climate accord withdrawal

Macron, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, also released a statement saying that the agreement cannot be renegotiated, as Trump had demanded.

The three leaders said they took note “with regret” the US decision, but added that they regard the accord as “a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change”.

The accord is “irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated”, they said.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies