French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Japan for the G-20 summit with a threat; include a reference to the 2015 Paris Climate Accord in the group's final communique, or France won't sign anything, according to Bloomberg.
"If we are not able to get around a table and defend the climate, then France won’t go along with it," he said. "It’s that simple."
Then, his aides began to backpedal - with one suggesting that it was impossible to discuss hypotheticals, and another saying it wasn't a threat - rather, Macron was simply indicating France's priorities.
European Council President Donald Tusk disagreed with Macron's comments, saying in Friday statements to reporters that G20 leaders should instead help Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a final declaration instead of threatening to boycott it.
Hours later, Macron dialed back his position during a press conference with Abe, saying only that if France's climate initiatives weren't adopted, "We'll have met for nothing."
By Friday, Macron had dialed it back even more, simply saying that climate would be a major issue at the G-20, absent any sort of threat.
As Bloomberg notes, "Climate and bio-diversity have always been major issues for Macron -- partly because the landmark 2015 Paris Accord was signed in the French capital -- but they have taken on even greater importance after the French Green Party made major advances in May’s European parliamentary elections. Macron has calculated that voters favoring tougher action on the environment could be an important source of support."