There’s plenty to be worried about when it comes to the environment. On Debating Europe, we’ve had comments from people worried about everything from climate change, to biodiversity, air pollutionGMOs, fracking, deforestation and plastic waste. There’s seemingly no end to the list of issues threatening the well-being of the planet.

Climate change is obviously in the news a lot these days (though rarely for the right reasons). We’ve been following developments closely with several debates on the Paris Agreement, and you can see our full list of debates on environmental issues in our Greener Europe channel. But are there other issues we’re missing? Should we be focusing more on biodiversity? Or air pollution? Or is climate change such an all-consuming issue that it’s right to have that top of the agenda? Which issues are you most concerned about?

We recently spoke to Céline Charveriat, Executive Director at Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). What would she say are the biggest environmental challenges facing Europe?

We had a comment from Yannick, who is very skeptical that governments will be able to cooperate to fix global issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss. After the recent decision by the US to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, there is every reason to be pessimistic about the ability of governments to cooperate on the environment. But are there also reasons for optimism?

To get a response we spoke to Pieter de Pous, Policy Director at European Environmental Bureau (EEB), a federation of environmental organisations from all across Europe. We asked him how Europe can solve its biggest environmental challenges:

Which environmental issues are you most worried about? And are you confident that EU countries can work together to find solutions? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Etienne

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Fondazione Cariplo

141 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • avatar
      EU Reform- Proactive

      die gibt es: ganz oben kann man zwischen EN / DE (English/Deutsch) waehlen!

  1. avatar
    Carl Glover

    The spraying of toxic chemicals on us from high altitude, namely aluminium sulphate.

  2. avatar
    Sasha Naronin

    Closing of nuclear plants, the only ones that can produce large quantities of reliable clean energy anywhere.

  3. avatar
    Kialee Kajar

    Massive population growth and simultaneously increasing consumption in developing countries – especially in India and Africa.

  4. avatar

    I think we need to do more pressure over school programs in order to prepare our children to have a critical perspective. Climate change is real, and industrial societies of ocidental Europe don’t care about it.

    • avatar
      Victor Emman

      For sure, starvation for the shareholders of the agro-food industries. more than 70% of world food production is not from them. So ? 30% of waste food or venenous food (obesity), so ?

    • avatar
      Sasha Naronin

      It’s not an issue media make people believe it is. For example, one could drink nothing but that “contaminated” groundwater for a year and get only an equivalent of one pelvic X-ray of radiation.

    • avatar
      Belgian Taxpayers Association

      Climate Change always existed. MMCC (Man Made climate change) is the Myth, our at least unscientifically exaggerated.

  5. avatar
    Margarida Ejarque Albuquerque

    climate change, the most difficult to deal with

    • avatar
      Steve Owen

      There is no other kind

  6. avatar
    Dree de Jong

    Birthcontrol in Afrika and muslimcountries, they cannot afford 10 till 20 children and more than 1 wife. So sterilise all men in these countries after having 2 children per man! Then a lot of issues will be solved within 20 years!

  7. avatar
    Medman Vita

    First and foremost its political issues…. if europe sorts them out then environmental ixsues will be a piece of cake

  8. avatar
    Sam Ashton

    Oil, petrol, petrol chemicals etc weve been able to make bioplastics and fuels from Hemp since the 1940s, and were still ignoring it???

  9. avatar
    wiss wiss

    How can you stop refugees if you continue bombarding!
    Irak unfinished job
    Syria unfinished job
    Lybia unfinished job
    Afganistan unifinished job
    Yemen unfinished job
    In addition to al this Somalia, Eriteria and Negeria and Mali…
    And maybe tomorrow Iran or North korea.
    The thing is that there will always be refugees always because the world is an ugly place to live. We live in a jungle.
    But when we talk about environement, we have to admit that countries like China, USA, Western Europe are the biggest threat to our planet. Not what you call the thirld world countries.

  10. avatar
    Ferre Jaime

    hoje na europa, o maior problema do ambiente, sao os islamicos, a falta de respeito por qualquer coisa que nao seja o corao, os ataques cobardes que perpetuam, as doencas que trazem consigo

  11. avatar
    John Andreu

    All are important but the 80 to 100 meters of sea level rise from global warming is going to be an enormous catastrophe for Europe (or what’s left of it)

    • avatar
      John Andreu

      Very True Netherlands is already below sea level – Can they add 100 meters to the sea wall ? ;-)

  12. avatar
    Rosy Forlenza

    monsanto and other invisible us. corporations trying to manipulate our democracies with their invisibie lobbying. all lobbying, whether of domestic governments or eu parliamentarians should be in front of the public. i am voting green green green in the next euro elections.

  13. avatar
    Daan Feenstra

    CO2 demonization. This ridiculous BS has to stop immediately so we can focus on things that DO matter.

  14. avatar
    Donnie MacLean

    Geo-engineering (chemtrails) which we’re seeing above our heads here in Belgium almost everyday now.

  15. avatar
    Broes Maria

    Kan ik me ook aan ergeren dat de mens zijn eigen vuil nog niet opruimt , zelfs hier zo, n kleine omgeving

  16. avatar
    Broes Maria

    Kan ik me ook aan ergeren dat de mens zijn eigen vuil nog niet opruimt , zelfs hier zo, n kleine omgeving

  17. avatar
    Broes Maria

    Kan ik me ook aan ergeren dat de mens zijn eigen vuil nog niet opruimt , zelfs hier zo, n kleine omgeving

  18. avatar
    Broes Maria

    Kan ik me ook aan ergeren dat de mens zijn eigen vuil nog niet opruimt , zelfs hier zo, n kleine omgeving

  19. avatar
    Jean-michel Blue

    specially the Nuclear Plants in Belgium – i know the are not clean or in good shape – thats why they never talk about them . Holland & Germany has already warned Belgium about the issue …….go figure

    • avatar
      Belgian Taxpayers Association

      New plants are forbidden by the political-correct establishment.
      Neo-renewables aren’t even enough for cooking alone, even at their theoretical maximum.
      Nuclear power is massively imported from France, but the cables have their maximum.
      Going for the #blackout.

  20. avatar
    Dimitar Peev

    Pollution: coal energy plants, industry and farming (those modern fertilazers and antibiotics for animals).

  21. avatar
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  22. avatar
    Giulia Gentile

    Energy production and textile industry

  23. avatar
    Zap Van Der Berg

    I think number 1 priority is the air polution, how we switch to clean emmiters like electric cars and how we power them, the second is water pollution, it is fumdamental fpr the survival of the flora and fauna ams thus our own, that we clean thw oceans, rivers and lakes, after this, 3) effective garbage disposal and recycling programs, still underdeveloped even in vanguard countries as the netherlands

  24. avatar
    Taline Babikian Angelidou

    Too many…Lebanese government causing pollution in the Mediterranean and the Cyprus sea/beaches will be affectes… toxic air, we should switch to electric cars aa soon as they become cheap..healthier organic veghies to be afgirdable…harvesting natural resources..maybe even supporting the vast empty or uncultivated lands of Afric…

  25. avatar
    Belamie Versco

    24hour WiFi everywhere, I think the cancer risk is not yet fully explored. Apart from that some generation is going to pay for all the nuclear waste. Not the only issues obviously. Probably the most dangerous issue is profitability ;)

  26. avatar
    Bódis Kata

    Plastics everywhere, products that break down in 2-3 years, gigatons of carbon taken from the depths of the planet and put into the atmosphere, tax havens, inequality of capital and labor in the economic system… just to mention the top ones.

  27. avatar
    Ivan Burrows

    The fake narrative of climate change being linked to ‘real’ environment problems.

  28. avatar
    George Guydosh

    All the issues, climate change, deforestation, destruction of wildlife habitat, waste management.

  29. avatar
    Leonardo Monteiro

    …. all of them. I have small kids, i’d appreciate if they could have, you know, a planet to grow in.

  30. avatar
    Franck Legon

    Overpopulation, plastic wastes. While it would be comon sense to stop importing people, favorize links with countries which adopt a responsible demographic policy, and make returnable glass bottles mandatory while forbiding plastic bottles, the fear comes from the “all for the profit” ongoing policy, that maximize lethal consumption and demographic growth in the only aim of shareholders benefits growth. These are just examples.

  31. avatar
    Vytautas Vėžys

    I don’t worry about things I can’t change.
    But if you ask what biggest problem is I could tell you that it’s increasing price of living due “green solutions”
    > You are recycling? Great, here is waste tax increase for you cause you know, management of those separate containers cost money
    > You like idea of renewable resources? Great, here is increased price of electricity for you cause you know, windmills and solar farms will not built themselves, and business needs dotations (renewable energy is not self sustaining)
    > You are saving water? Good for you, and now take this increased water price, cause consumption is record low and water providing companies loose huge profits.

  32. avatar
    Frankie Perussault

    famine. yes, famine. we take it for granted that edible things grow in the ground and we just have to pick them. what if things don’t grow because of the lack of water, too much sun, too many storms and cyclones destroying agriculture, etc.

  33. avatar
    Marian Gheorghila

    Problema sau cauza de mediu climatic este doar una; Embargou de protejare climatica;stoparea comercializarii de aer de tara ori regiune;Stoparea taierilor forestiere de padure sanatoasa;Izolarea cladirilor antitermic;Electrificarea transportului turistic si urban.Termocentrale cu resurse reziduale de gunoi menajer cu filtre de precizie la emisii.Taxe mari pe motoarele Diesel cu descurajarea traficului urban-taxe de congestie urbana si interurbana cu limita anuala de consum impus de cota per familie.Plasticul,toxic-eliminat.Transportul maritim,cote si impuneri monitorizate;Chimia,omg-ul si detergentii toxici pentru apa si om.Zootehnia si rezidurile-reformate de biogaz.Gunoiul menajer si reciclarea selectiv-regenerabila.

  34. avatar
    Yannick Cornet

    I agree with the World Economic Forum who is mostly concerned about the following five environmental risks: Extreme weather events, Natural disasters, Failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, Man-made environmental disasters and Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse. These make it to the top 10 geopolitical, economic, societal, technological or environmental risks humanity faces in terms of likelihood and impact in 2018.

    See the full report here

  35. avatar
    Rob Eastham

    Health of our oceans is now at a critical level and there is no international agreement on how to fix.

  36. avatar
    Jay Tee

    general pollution, see land & air. probably the sea wins though.

  37. avatar

    Smog and Carbon related issues, followed by ocean waste. Also we really are still recycling babies and we need to become adults, fast

  38. avatar

    Non biodegradable plastic waste filling up the land and sea. Plastic bags should be banned.

  39. avatar

    Nuclear + Radiation + all packaging + all PLASTIC + all Industry + all Motors + all hydro carburant fuels + all 1-use-only + all Mass Production

  40. avatar

    IT IS

  41. avatar

    Al the types of environmental issues are in danger.

  42. avatar

    I care about deforestation. Deforestation has many negative consequences for the environment. Forests are very important for people’s lives. The main consequence of deforestation is climate change on the planet. Mass deforestation leads to animal death or complete disappearance. Les is our filter. Without a forest, not only animals, but also humans will begin to die. That’s why it’s so important for us to pay attention to this problem. We need to create actions to make people plant trees

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