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Rome Reports

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Three key environmental challenges of our time

The environmental challenge is one of the big issues of the 21st century, and there are three main areas of concern.


The biggest is global warming. According to Greenpeace, the rising temperature could reach 118.4 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. The consequences could be catastrophic.

Executive Director, Greenpeace (Italy)
“Renewable energy can be produced, but it's not easy because those in control of the fossil fuel industry aren't interested. In the world today, the renewable energy market requires about $285 billion a year. Only banks invest in combustible fossil fuels, like carbon, oil and gas, 2.5 times this number. That's not good. We must change this situation.”

The scarcity of potable water would be one of the most serious consequences of global warming.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warns that within five years, “two-thirds of the world population could be living in water-stressed countries.” The consequences could be catastrophic, as even the pope has observed.

Water is not free, as we usually think. It will be a huge problem that could lead us to another war.


The other major problem is the devastation of forests. In recent years, raging fires have ravaged Australia, Siberia and California, among others. The Amazon forest, the so-called green lung of the Earth, is under constant threat.

Executive Director, Greenpeace (Italy)
“The Amazon synod from last October raised the alarm regarding indigenous communities, which are being threatened even as we speak. The Brazilian government is taking advantage of the pandemic to further their destruction.”


The oceans have been transformed into dumps, especially for plastic. According to Greenpeace, poor management of waste leaves approximately eight million tons of plastic in the planet's seas and oceans annually. That makes up between 60 and 80 percent of the garbage in the ocean, and the consequences are unpredictable.

Javier Romero

Translation: Claudia Torres