A shocking blow to French president Emmanuel Macron this week, as his own environment minister quit, without notice, in a live radio interview.
Nicholas Hulot had been a television host of ecological programs before being admitted to Macron’s cabinet as environment minister, arguably the most important position of power available to someone truly hoping to change a nation’s relationship to the environment. But for Hulot, it was not enough, and his scant 15 months in office ended on Tuesday with an interview on France Inter in which Hulot said, “I do not want to lie to myself anymore. I don’t want to give the illusion that my presence in government means we’re answering these issues properly — and so I have decided to leave the government.” Macron had not been warned that he would quit, instead learning about it while he was on a state visit to Denmark.
This is a bad news for Macron, who painted himself as the world leader most willing to tackle environmental issues. He hosted an international conference on climate change in Paris, and called out US president Donald Trump on the subject earlier this year with the infamous turn of phrase, “Make our planet great again.”
Clearly, Macron will need to step up his eco game (or at least find himself a better yes man) if he’s going to continue to convince people that he wants not just what’s best for his country, but for his planet.