EU’s Michel slams ‘acts of war’ against planet in call for climate action

European Council president stresses need for 'transparency and loyalty' in transatlantic relations.

EU’s Michel slams ‘acts of war’ against planet in call for climate action

NEW YORK — European Council President Charles Michel slammed what he called “acts of war against our environment” that have led to climate change, calling for a “peace treaty with our planet.”

“We have tortured our planet, abused our natural resources, we have committed acts of war against our environment. And now nature is fighting back, bringing us back to our senses,” Michel told the U.N. General Assembly in New York. “No one can say ‘I didn’t know.’ For decades, scientists have sounded the alarm but their warnings fell on deaf ears.”

He added: “It’s time for humans to sign an armistice with nature, a peace treaty with our planet … It’s time for us to transform the world, just as the previous generation did after the last world war.”

In order to create a fairer and safer world, Michel called for “cooperation rather than confrontation, solidarity rather than isolation, transparency not secrecy, and we want loyalty, honoring our word when our word is given.”

Michel’s remarks about transparency and loyalty echoed strong criticism he made earlier this week about the U.S. regarding a new strategic tie-up Washington agreed with the U.K. and Australia in the Indo-Pacific. U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to patch up relations since then, conceding after a call with French President Emmanuel Macron that Washington should have consulted Paris about the pact, which scuppered a submarine deal the French had with Canberra.  

“The elementary principles for an alliance are loyalty and transparency,” Michel told reporters on Monday, adding: “We are observing a clear lack of transparency and loyalty.” 

In his speech Thursday, Michel noted that the EU is the leading investor in the Indo-Pacific and an important trade partner there. He also stressed the EU’s push for “strategic autonomy” in security and defense, “to be less dependent, to shore up our positive influence and also to strengthen our Atlantic alliance. This is an alliance which is anchored in our democratic values and it is a staunch pillar of our security and stability in the world.”

Michel added: “Stronger allies make for a stronger alliance in transparency and loyalty.”