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

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 20,014,574 — Total deaths: 734,755 — Total recoveries — 12,222,744Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 5,089,416 — Total deaths: 163,425 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. Politics: Trump claims he would have not called for Obama to resign over 160,000 virus deathsHouse will not hold votes until Sept. 14 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. Business: Richer Americans are more comfortable eating out.
  5. Public health: 5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — A dual coronavirus and flu threat is set to deliver a winter from hell.
  6. Sports: The cost of kids losing gym class — College football is on the brink.
  7. World: Europe's CDC recommends new restrictions amid "true resurgence in cases."
Updated 1 hour ago - World

Trump admin: Jimmy Lai's arrest marks Beijing's "latest violation" on Hong Kong

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement Monday night the Trump administration is "deeply troubled" by the arrest of Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai on suspicion of "collusion with foreign powers."

Why it matters: The arrest Monday of the most prominent person under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.

A big hiring pledge from New York CEOs

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Leaders of more than two dozen of the New York City area's largest employers — including JPMorgan Chase, Ernst & Young, IBM, McKinsey & Company and Accenture — aim to hire 100,000 low-income residents and people of color by 2030 and will help prep them for tech jobs.

Why it matters: As the city's economy has boomed, many New Yorkers have been left behind — particularly during the pandemic. The hiring initiative marks an unusual pact among firms, some of them competitors, to address systemic unemployment.