Knowing Your Government: Important Ways France Has Always Been America’s Friend

After President Trump told the world the United States was going to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, many foreign leaders came out to show their displeasure.

But it looks like we have a winner for the best response to Trump. After putting out a joint statement with Germany and Italy, French President Emmanuel Macron went out and gave a pretty epic three-minute statement — in English.

  • During the Revolution  that created this country, naval actions at the Battle of the Chesapeake made possible the decisive Franco–American victory at the siege of Yorktown in October 1781, effectively ending the war as far as the Americans were concerned.
  • During the Siege of Paris, the small American population, led by the United States Minister to France Elihu B. Washburne, provided much medical, humanitarian, and diplomatic support to peoples of all nations, gaining much credit to the Americans.
  • The Statue of Liberty, presented in 1884 as a gift to the United States from the French people.
  • France under President François Mitterrand supported the 1991 Persian Gulf War in Iraq as a major participant under Operation Daguet. The French Assemblee Nationale even took the “unprecedented decision” to place all French forces in the Gulf under United States command for the duration of the war.
  • In 2011 the two countries were part of the multi-state coalition which launched a military intervention in Libya.

Before people jump on France, I suggest a deep reading of our relationship. The Paris Agreement was designed to keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. It was a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy. Now President Donald Trump is withdrawing the USf rom the accord.

The Paris Agreement laid out a framework for countries to adopt clean energy and phase out fossil fuels. Each country submitted a climate-action plan laying out how it would achieve these goals.

The US’s plan, which the Obama administration submitted in March 2015, set the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% by 2025. The baseline level this reduction is measured against is 2005, when the US emitted 6,132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Under Obama, the US started to reduce its emissions, both because of the rise in affordable renewable energy and the abundance of natural gas due to fracking. One hundred ninety-five countries agreed to the Paris accord, and only Syria and Nicaragua didn’t sign it.

The US is the world’s second-largest carbon emitter, after China. Together, the countries accounted for 45% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2014.  Please see my story here  for a deep dive.

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