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Photos: Protestors at White House Dinner Urge Macron to Stop Threatening U.S. Climate Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As French President Emmanuel Macron attends U.S. President Joe Biden’s first state dinner at the White House, climate activists blew the whistle at Macron, urging him to stop giving the “red card” to the U.S. policies needed to support a clean energy transition. Activists in referee outfits projected messages onto a giant movie screen in front of the White House urging Macron to stop threatening to launch a trade dispute against electric vehicles and other renewable energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Photos and short video clips available here.

“President Macron clearly cares about climate change, so he and other European leaders should drop all the complaints about the IRA and threats to launch a trade challenge against it,” said Melinda St. Louis, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Governments should be empowered to fight climate change and support the clean energy transition without fear of being undermined by antiquated trade rules.”

Today’s action echoes a growing call from climate and consumer advocacy organizations to prioritize climate action over outdated trade rules, as U.S. and EU officials prepare for trade talks next week in Maryland.

  • The Sierra Club and other trade and climate advocacy groups released a discussion paper today explaining how governments could design a Climate Peace Clause: a binding commitment to refrain from using dispute settlement mechanisms in trade agreements to challenge other countries’ climate mitigation and clean energy transition measures.
  • The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, representing more than 70 consumer advocacy organizations on both sides of the Atlantic, released a statement ahead of next week’s U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council talks that noted: “If the U.S. and EU are serious about making trade more sustainable, they must first ensure that trade challenges do not undermine domestic climate policies needed to support the green transition of our economies.”
  • Public Citizen, the Sierra Club, and Trade Justice Education Fund held a webinar in November for hundreds of grassroots activists explaining the threats to the IRA and the need for a Climate Peace Clause.
  • These actions follow a call earlier this year from more than 150 U.S. environmental organizations supporting a Climate Peace Clause.

Macron has been among the EU’s most vocal critics of the IRA’s North American content incentives. The IRA’s hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits will support clean energy jobs and the green economic transition needed to fight climate change. These incentives were an important part of getting the political support needed to pass the landmark climate legislation.

With time running out for countries to meet their Paris Climate commitments, climate advocates continue to urge the Biden administration and Congress to stand strong in implementing the IRA and calling on world leaders to take bold action on climate change without lobbing threats of trade challenges.