Guest essay by Eric Worrall
President Macron, widely seen as technically leading, is facing a tense time as he tries to forge a coalition to win the election over the emerging right-wing candidate. Marine Le Pen.
Macron uses climate change to attack Le Pen
The French president is trying to attract leftist voters ahead of the final round of the French election.
VIA CHILDREN’S WEAR
April 16, 2022 7:21 pm
In a bid to appeal to left-wing voters for the final round of the French presidential election, on Saturday, Emmanuel Macron criticized his far-right rival Marine Le Pen as a “climate skeptic”. and hyped his own plans to build a green economy.
Speaking in Marseille at his only major rally ahead of the April 24 vote, the libertarian incumbent saw the election as a “civilized choice” and vowed to make France a “great environmental country”.
“The choice today is clear. On the far right is a climate skeptic, one that wants to leave Europe’s climate ambitions, wants to destroy windmills,” Macron told nearly 3,000 people.
Dedicating much of his speech to his environmental ambitions, Macron showed off his rival’s idea of dismantling wind farms and imposing a ban on new wind and solar projects in France while under construction. New nuclear power plants are out of place and dangerous.
“Good luck and good use of taxpayer money,” he said.
First, I would like to state unequivocally that French politics is as complex as the French approach to romantic entanglements. Only the French really understand French politics. So if I’m wrong, apologies in advance.
The French operate a withdrawal system for the second round of the Presidential Election, in which if a candidate does not win outright, there is a second pre-election between the leading candidate and the runner-up. The two candidates in this case would be incumbent Emmanuel Macron and runner-up Marine Le-Pen.
Macron entered the Élysée Palace as a revolutionary, but turned out to be an establishment, whose Presidency has been ruined Yellow vest protest to deal with unacceptable fuel tax hikes and other serious missteps.
It is very risky for Macron to attempt to attack Le-Pen’s climate credentials, as he himself has severely frustrated climate activists – in 2021, a French Court ruled that Macron’s government had not done enough to deliver on their climate commitments. And his support for carbon taxes sparked Yellow Vest protests that irked activists, even as they saved his presidency from further conflict.
And there is the curse of the second term. No French president has won a second term since Jacques Chiracwho left office in 2007.
Is Marine a climate skeptic? Who knows. She has been accused of being a climate protester, but Her background in 2017 includes protesting Shale Gas, and her references to climate policy are unequivocal to say the least. Perhaps climate skepticism is a topic she prefers not to discuss, rather than a pivotal position.
However, we may have a nice surprise. Above all, Le-Pen considers me a pragmatist. Faced with Russia’s gas shortage, she would, in my opinion, likely put France’s energy security above other energy considerations.
The race is on for Emmanuel to appeal to the left, whom he has bitterly disappointed in his first term, and for the Marine to appeal to the center and the right. Eric Zemmour supporters, whose support largely grew from alienation from right-wing voters due to Le-Pen’s moves toward centivism.
My pro-Zemmour French friend plans to take the lead and vote for Le-Pen. I doubt the majority of Zemmour supporters will support Le-Pen in the second round of elections, to avoid a second Macron term. They sent a message in the first round election that they cannot be taken for granted. So the real fight in round two is center and far left.
Macron faces a real balancing act, to win enough center to counter Le-Pen, but also somehow convince the Left to give him another chance.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this election – Le-Pen’s drive towards centralism could make a presidency as meaningless as Macron’s.
But despite this, I hope Le-Pen wins. France needs a dose of political pragmatism, after Macron’s reckless stance against free trade and selfish mockery of the US. Also, the greater possibility is that under Le-Pen, France itself could reject the Paris Agreement, which would make for a very interesting WUWT essay if it happened, and would cause a huge shake-up to the world. with the global green world order.
Update (EW): h/t Hans Erren – Fix typo.