Rafe PomeranceArmond CohenThe Arctic is warming at more than twice the rate of the earth as a whole. Since 1979, Arctic warming has reduced summer sea ice by more than 40 percent, and many climate models now predict that all sea ice will disappear by 2030 or sooner. To put this in perspective, the amount of sea ice lost from 1980 to 2007 would cover half of the European Union.


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Applications for small unmanned vehicle systems are multiplying and their contribution to earth surveillance and the treatment of emergency situations is increasing in parallel to their commercial, homeland security and military applications. This conference addressed the growing need for ensuring the security of their traffic and making sure that this development is environmentally safe. Speakers included Peter van Blyenburgh, President of UVS International; Gerald F. “Fred” Pease, Jr., Executive Director for the Department of Defense Policy Board on Federal Aviation; Holger Mattiesen, Senior Specialist in Air Traffic Management Procedures and the Focal Point for Unmanned Aircraft Systems at EUROCONTROL; Robert “Rori” Marston, Director of Policy and Strategic Development for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s UAS Program; and Dana Schulze, Chief of the Aviation Engineering Division at the National Transportation Safety Board. Participants agreed that there needs to be an increase in transatlantic coordination regarding UAVs to ensure safety and regulation.

A delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy that included The Hon. Catherine Trautmann (MEP–France), Vice-Chair and The Hon. Giles Chichester, Member of the Committee, along with The Hon. Jonathan Evans (MEP-UK), Chairman of the Delegation for Relations with the U.S. discussed the effectiveness of the European ETS as well as transatlantic cooperation on energy and climate change issues. Participants included  James Slutz, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy and Angelos Pangratis, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Commission. There was a consensus that although there are problems with the current ETS, it does work and it is a positive initiative toward developing new technologies.

H.E. Pierre Vimont, newly appointed Ambassador of France to the United States, discussed President Nicolas Sarkozy’s goals for the EU, as France assumes the presidency of the European Council in the latter part of 2008. The European Union should focus on four points: economic growth; internal security and the growing concerns about immigration; environmental protection and climate change; external relations and the EU’s role in the international community. Ambassador Vimont stressed that the EU needs to “put its house in order” and decide on the new constitution, a common defense policy, and enlargement. France has proposed the creation of a committee of “wisemen” to address these difficult issues.

The Hon. Paolo Costa (MEP-Italy), Chairman of the Transport Committee and members of the Committee discussed the status of the EU-U.S. Aviation Agreement (also known as the Open Skies Agreement), the inclusion of aviation into the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), and aviation security issues. U.S. participants included Michael Scardaville, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Policy and International Policy Advisor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Paul Gretch, Director of the Office of International Aviation, U.S. Department of Transportation.