Four Boulder scientists and a fifth based in Golden are among the brain drain of leading climate scientists packing their bags and leaving for France, the spearhead of countries combating climate change.
The Coloradans are among the winners of French president Emmanuel Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” grant program, which offers four-year grants worth 1.5 million euros each, or about $1.8 million — an all-expenses paid initiative for climate scientists to advance their research in France.
The proposal, with a poke at President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, comes as an effort to bring in the world’s top scientists to that country, helping solidify France’s role as an international leader in climate change research.
According to Science, the climate grants specifically target “disgruntled” U.S. scientists seeking refuge from the climate change skepticism of the current administration, but are open to climate scientists around the world. The offer attracted 1,822 applications, two-thirds of them coming from the U.S. Of the 18 grant winners, 13 are from the U.S. — five being from Colorado.
The departure of Colorado scientists presents the state with both prestigious recognition and a troubling reminder of the impact of Trump having pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.
“Colorado’s loss is the world’s gain,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in a statement. “We are not surprised that almost 40 percent of the French ‘climate scholars’ are from Colorado. We are happy for their recognition. But we also hate it. Colorado’s remarkable success is in no small way the result of our talent, and the innovation created on a regular basis.”
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