Conservative control of the House of Representatives weakens the already-flagging momentum on climate-change legislation. Many new Congress members – Republicans (including Tea Party activists) – will expand the ranks opposing environmental action as too expensive or even denying the existence of global warming as a man-made problem.

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The Baltic Sea is generally imagined in people’s minds as part of a pristine northern Europe, but sadly it is actually one of the most polluted seas in the world. Its condition is a challenge for the nine littoral states and their populations – 90 million people -- living in its catchment area.

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On September 20, 2010, the European Institute welcomed The Honorable Eamon Ryan T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources of the Republic of Ireland. In a comprehensive presentation on Harnessing the Knowledge and Green Economies for Sustainable Growth, Minister Ryan began by addressing the Ireland’s current debt crisis and the government’s efforts to reduce the budget deficit to 3% of GDP in five years and to achieve more that 4% growth by 2012.  Central to these efforts is investment and trade in the energy and ICT sectors, which Minister Ryan argues are key components for sustainable economic growth.  As examples, he cited Ireland’s implementation of a National Retrofit Program to deliver energy efficiency upgrades and ongoing efforts to draw upon such plentiful renewable energy resources as wind. Minister Ryan stressed the importance of similar priorities in the European Union and emphasized the need for a common energy market within the EU, a single European digital market, and freer global technology transfer between the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Click here to read the full text of Eamon Ryan's remarks.

 

Pelicans and marsh grass were not the only victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Another casualty was in Britain among some people there who felt aggrieved that their country seemed to get no specially gentle handling from the White House in the name of the “special relationship” between the U.S. and UK. That longstanding concept of a special bilateral tie has only slowly faded in London, even under the new government. But decision-makers in Washington have been saying privately for years that it no longer exists, except in special circumstances such as the wars in the Falklands and the Gulf.

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Offers of help from European countries to the U.S. in dealing with the Gulf oil-spill have been welcomed and publicly acknowledged in Washington. The Obama administration has been markedly more receptive to these trans-Atlantic overtures of solidarity than the preceding Bush administration was during the Katrina hurricane disaster. Alongside U.S. neighbors Canada and Mexico, two littoral nations from Europe -- Norway and the Netherlands – have already sent equipment to help with the crisis. Both have experience with offshore drilling emergencies, and they have already sent over eight skimming systems, which arrived in the U.S. in early May.

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