Emmanuel Macron, the President of France has challenged Australia to do a better job when it comes to addressing the global issue of climate change. Mr Macron is the second French president to make a visit to Australia and arrived in Sydney on Tuesday evening.
His first stop after getting off the plane was a high profile dinner at the Opera House where he was joined by business leaders, politicians and French expatriates.
During a speech, Mr Macron issued a challenged to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He urged the Prime Minister to demonstrate “power of conviction” and a display of courage in confronting the issue of climate change.
Mr Macron disclaimed that he was aware of the ideological divide in Australian politics and said that he respected these circumstances. However he followed up by saying that “actual leaders” can participate in a “broader” and “more strategic” approach.
As part of his challenge Mr Macron cited that Australia’s neighbouring island nations are the most at risk from rising sea levels as a result of climate change. He said that “numerous” pacific nations were at risk of being submerged in a number of years.
France has historically had deep ties to the Pacific region as a result of colonialism. Mr Macron is set to travel to the French territory of New Caledonia following his Australia trip.
Later in 2018 New Caledonia is set to hold a referendum regarding independence from France.
Both Mr Macron and Mr Turnbull are expected to reveal new collaborative military agreements, especially in regards to cyber-security. They also set to discuss the strategic growth of China in the Pacific region and the predicted breakdown of an Iran nuclear deal.
United States President Donald Trump has expressed his desire to scrap the deal despite numerous voices, including those of Macron and Turnbull telling him not to do so. Mr Macron warned that scrapping the deal would be destabilising to the security of the region.