French presidential hopeful Macron courts US climate experts

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen leaves after a meeting at the Juvisy-sur-Orge police station, south of Paris, France, as she campaigns for the upcoming presidential election, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers working on climate change in the U.S. to leave for France _ a bid to capitalize on the doubt expressed by U.S. President Donald Trump about global warming

PARIS — French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged researchers, entrepreneurs and engineers working on climate change in the U.S. to leave for France — a bid to capitalize on the doubt expressed by U.S. President Donald Trump about global warming.

In a video posted on his Twitter account, Macron said in English: "I do know how your new president now has decided to jeopardize your budget, your initiatives — as he's extremely skeptical about climate change."

Trump has voiced skepticism that global warming is man-made and has suggested taking the U.S. out of the global Paris Agreement on fighting climate change.

In the appeal, the centrist, pro-business Macron vowed to boost public and private investment in sectors linked to climate change in France. He evoked the landmark COP21 agreement that got signatory nations to agree to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The 39-year-old told U.S. scientists to "please come to France, you are welcome ... we want people working on climate change, energy, renewables and new technologies."

Macron is among the top candidates in France's presidential election, alongside Marine Le Pen, 48, the far-right National Front's leader. The first ballot will take place on April 23 and the two top candidates from that go into the presidential runoff on May 7.

Conservative Francois Fillon, 62, once the favorite to capture the Elysee Palace, has seen his popularity sink in recent weeks following an national embezzlement probe into paid — but allegedly fake — political jobs that he gave to his wife and two children. Despite the controversy, Fillon is heading to the French overseas territory of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean, on Saturday to show that his campaign is continuing as normal.

Other candidates in France's presidential election include the Socialist Benoit Hamon, 49, and the leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, 65. The current president, Socialist Francois Hollande, is so unpopular that he decided not to seek re-election.

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