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Sunday, December 3, 2023

France Climate change protests: Macron portraits removed from town halls

Climate change protests have become a breath of fresh air for anti-Macron populist activity in France as movements around the world gain ground in pushing their governments to take action.

News Desk |

Climate change protests around the world seem to be gaining an increasing fervor. Those who were first taught of the true magnitude of the problem from early school life onwards are now coming of age and taking matters into their own hands. Independent groups around the world are implicitly issuing their damning manifestos on climate change inaction as they engage in sustained acts of agitation and peaceful protests.

Despite the “sound science” advocates and climate change skeptics now present in the American mainstream and high offices, they have not had their desired effect on public opinion. The majority of people still see climate change as a saga which ends in doom for the human race, and they recognize the 21st century as being right in the throes of the coda.

The protests have now reached the farthest nooks and crannies of France, and they show no signs of stopping. Paris, Biarritz, Lyon and scattered towns across the country from Normandy to Beaujolais are all hotbeds of climate change activism.

This ominous realization is prevalent specifically in younger people, and it should be a few more years till it is unanimously held true. This could be seen over the summer of 2019, as the “Extinction Rebellion” protests erupted across the western world and inspired a movement in France.

The protests have now reached the farthest nooks and crannies of France, and they show no signs of stopping. Paris, Biarritz, Lyon and scattered towns across the country from Normandy to Beaujolais are all hotbeds of climate change activism. The latest incident that prompted media coverage was in the small town of Lingolsheim outside of Strasbourg, near the Franco-German border.

Read more: Climate change: Sea level rise could displace millions of people within two generations

A daring crew of eleven protesters calmly entered the town hall room that is usually a site for town council meetings, respectfully and quietly removed President Macron’s standard portrait from the wall and walked out without any commotion or anyone suspecting them of a crime. The receptionist was clueless of the altered décor in the meeting room as the motley crew waited for law enforcement to knock at their door and reprimand them for their civil disobedience. The protestors later explained that “The blank space left on the wall symbolizes the void in government policy on the climate emergency.”

There is a strong reason for Macron being targeted, and he is himself partially responsible for it. He attempted to portray himself as a forerunner in the global struggle against global warming and various environmental issues at the historic Paris Climate change agreement in 2015 under the auspices of the United Nations. Media, observers and civil society around the world were generous in their praise for the commitments made and targets set in the landmark agreement. He has been far from adequate in his practical follow-up.

Many countries since then have made a modicum of progress and executed at least some proactive policymaking, such as Britain, India, Morocco, and Gambia. Morocco and Gambia are the only countries in the world that are meeting the goal to keep emissions to a level that does not cause more than a 1.5C increase in global temperatures. India could be meeting 40% of its energy via non-renewable resources by 2020 and Britain is fast advancing towards its “net zero” goal by 2050.

Read more: In opting out of the Climate Change Agreement: Trump panders to the lowest common denominator

France lags behind dangerously. The home of the historic agreement was actually sued late last year by four French organizations—Greenpeace France, Oxfam France, Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme and Notre Affaire à Tous- for its systemic inertia on this dire issue. It is missing emissions targets in three of its four biggest sectors in a worrying performance. The lawsuit alleges that the inaction of the government is actively endangering the French population.

Anti-Macron Protests 

The climate change protests that are now emerging are not always by single-issue protestors. It is part of a larger anti-Macron sentiment that erupted in France earlier this year and led to the oft-violent and disruptive “yellow vest protests” which demanded that President Macron vacates his seat. The protests began after an online petition gained more than a million signatures. The cause was growing discontentment with the economic conditions under the Macron government which included a high cost of living and a disproportionate tax burden on the poor.

Protests grew violent and the way that police handled the clashes drew flak from observers and critics around the world. Famously, Russia criticized the harsh treatment of protestors. The popular outrage against his connections to big business and industry are similar to the objections American voters have against President Trump. Early in his term, the American President famously withdrew his country from the Paris accord of 2015.