What can Macron's climate summit achieve?

With the One Planet Summit French President Macron has called for increased commitment on climate protection. More effort is needed to reach the climate targets agreed on two years ago in Paris, Macron said to the attending political leaders and private and institutional investors. While some journalists are critical of Macron's plans, others are delighted.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

More than just media hype?

Many people who have the power to effect changes stayed away from the conference, Neue Zürcher Zeitung criticises:

“We must wait and see if the One Planet Summit organised by Macron with much hullabaloo will bring about concrete results, or if it was just an occasion to preach to the converted. The fact that apart from President Trump - who wasn't invited anyway - the leaders of key countries like Germany, China and India didn't bother to come to Paris makes one sceptical. All the more so because effectively implementing higher prices in CO2 emissions trading, for example, requires intergovernmental regulations.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

A summit marked by important messages

Although the summit was above all a PR event it was a very useful one, La Libre Belgique stresses:

“It was 'the place to be' for companies and heads of state wanting to stress their commitment to the environment. Certainly, the implications of their promises vary greatly from one to the next. But they did have one thing in common: they're willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to fighting climate change. ... And Macron also used the summit to send a message to Donald Trump. This meeting of the most motivated players was meant to show how isolated the US president is on the issue of climate protection. Yes, yes, yes: the summit was a PR measure. But a necessary one.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Macron knows where the money and influence are

Macron knows that in the fight against climate change private donors are more important than unwilling heads of state, La Repubblica comments approvingly:

“Although the US president was conspicuous by his absence, America was present at the summit. ... Stars like Leonardo Di Caprio and Sean Penn, and above all donors like Bill and Melinda Gates were there. They pledged 315 million dollars to help African farmers. The Gates are the best representatives in Macron's 'coalition of philanthropists'. More than anything else the 'One Planet Summit' was actually a donation-gathering event at the highest level to make concrete contributions to the fight against climate change. This was the declared goal of the young president, who is well acquainted with the financial world. Macron has succeeded in securing money that can hopefully be used to make good on a promise made two years ago.”

Die Welt (DE) /

As long as he gets results

Although Macron is hardly a trailblazer on environmental issues it is unfair to cast doubt on the seriousness of his intentions, Die Welt finds:

“It is often those who are converted later who are the most fervent preachers. What is certain is that the young French president has leapt into a power vacuum that no one else wants to or can occupy. ... Macron is defining the agenda, he wants the prerogative of interpretation and to play the game master. Unlike the reinvention of the EU the fight against climate change is a topic of global import. Proclaiming a green revolution in the financial sector to ensure that the energy revolution doesn't remain an empty promise is typical of Macron's style: he wants to get things moving. And as long as he gets results the motivation doesn't really matter.”