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President Macron addressing a joint meeting of Congress on April 25, 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

In one of the more emotional passages of his speech to Congress on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron testified to the critical, existential nature of climate change, calling on President Trump to face the challenge with U.S. allies.

Why it matters: Since Trump announced in June 2017 his intention to eventually withdraw from, or renegotiate, the Paris Agreement, the issue of climate change has offered Macron a way to raise his profile as an international player. Although disappointed by Trump’s position, he has also paradoxically been one of its largest political beneficiaries, assuming for France the climate leadership role that the U.S. has vacated.

Throughout his speech, Macron sought to rise above political divisions on climate change, casting the issue as a generational, rather than partisan, challenge. But he did not mince words in his rebuke of the U.S. position on the Paris Agreement, which remains unique in the global community: "Let us face it," he said, "there is no Planet B.”

Macron balanced his admonitions with the acknowledgement of differing opinions on climate action, choosing to focus on the long run and extending an olive branch that moderate Republicans, and perhaps even Trump, could seize in due time.

What's next: Despite Trump's announcement, the earliest the U.S. could officially notify the UN of its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is late 2019, and withdrawal could not take place until late 2020. As long as the possibility of a U.S. reversal exists, Macron will have a tantalizing goal to which he can apply his charisma, energy and unique personal relationship with Trump.

David Livingston is deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center.

Go deeper: Read more at the Atlantic Council's New Atlanticist blog.

Go deeper

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.