Webinar “Planetary boundaries – Europe’s life on a knife-edge”?”

Webinar, Thursday, Jun 11, 2020 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CEST

A webinar by Jutta Paulus MEP and Sven Giegold MEP with:

  • Prof. Dr. Johan Rockström: Author of the Planetary Boundaries framework, joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
  • Tobias Lung: SOER Coordination and Assessment Expert in the Integrated Assessments for Sustainability Programme at the European Environmental Agency (EAA) and co-author of the EEA/FOEN (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment)-report “Is Europe living within the limits of our planet?”
  • Andreas Hauser: Deputy head of section, senior policy advisor at the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) Swizerland, co-author of the EEA/FOEN-report


We are approaching the tipping points in our ecosystems at high speed.

Nine global processes determine the ecological survivability of humans on our planet. In 2009, a 29-member international research group led by Swedish Professor Johan Rockström published the concept of Planetary boundaries. These boundaries are essential for the survival of mankind, they define a “safe space of action” for human civilization on Earth. To this end, certain thresholds must not be exceeded.

In 2009 it was found that three of the nine limits have already been exceeded: Species extinction, climate change and nitrogen input into the biosphere. A further point was added in the 2015 update: deforestation and other land-use changes.

This year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) together with the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) analysed whether Europe lives within its borders. Three planetary boundaries were examined as examples: phosphate and nitrate release, changes in land use and freshwater consumption. The indirect influence of the import of raw materials and products from other regions of the world was also considered. In the sectors phosphate and nitrate release and land use, we are overexploiting our basis for survival. Only the consumption of fresh water is still within the tolerable range.

Together with Professor Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and the two co-authors of the report, Tobias Lung (EEA expert) and Andreas Hauser (Deputy Head of the Economics Section – FOEN), we (MEPs Jutta Paulus and Sven Giegold) would like to find answers to these questions: Does Europe live in the boundaries of our planet? What must we do to return to the safe area?

Language: English with simultanous written German translation.

You can find the recording of the webinar here.

The German written translation can be found here.

You can find the full joint EEA/FOEN (Swiss Federal Office for the Environment)-report “Is Europe living within the limits of our planet?An assessment of Europe’s environmental footprints in relation to planetary boundaries” here.

You can find other interesting webinars of the greens here.