'Make our planet great again'

"Make our planet great again." Those were the words uttered by the new French President, Emmanuel Macron, in response to President Donald Trump's irresponsible and immoral decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accords. It's the best response I've seen so far.

Macron actually uttered those words in English, something that is next to heresy in France where the cherished French language is prized. In fact, he gave a three-minute lecture in English to Trump, saying: "Don't be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no Planet B." Then, he invited American scientists, engineers and committed citizens to come to France to work on climate solutions.

And I suspect that Pope Francis is cheering Macron's words as well. In fact, I wonder what Pope Francis is thinking, having met Donald Trump not long ago, and given him a copy of his encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si'. Very likely, they had a brief conversation on the subject. So Francis must wonder: "Did he read that encyclical? Is this man capable of learning?"

What heartened me on this occasion, however, was an MSNBC interview with Gov. Jerry Brown of California, who is clearly in tune with contemporary climate science and is moving his state ahead strongly on renewable energy. He's one of several governors who are moving forward on climate policies no matter what the federal government is doing.

However, I'd like to see the Catholic bishops make a strong response to Trump's move. They did recently encourage Trump to maintain global leadership on climate issues, something he definitely has abandoned with this latest move. But they now need to be stronger and more "out front" on these issues … as Pope Francis has been. It's time they took a leaf from French President Macron, criticized Trump's abandonment of the Paris accords, and urged strong action to save the planet.


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