On March 17, 2015, The European Institute, in cooperation with the European Parliament Liaison Office with the U.S. Congress, held a meeting on the upcoming 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. In attendance was a delegation of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee. The Honorable Giovanni La Via, Chairman of the ENVI Committee opened the roundtable and underlined the importance of EU-U.S. cooperation to materialize an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris. Reid Detchon, Vice President of Energy and Climate Strategy at the United Nations Foundation then highlighted the positive momentum toward Paris, with events like the climate change marches in New York and the U.S.-China climate agreement representing a global shift on attitudes toward climate change. Lastly, Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, highlighted the positive undertakings that the U.S. has made and the opportunity for further reform with President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

By Brian Beary, Washington Correspondent for Europolitics

A global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in aviation has been concluded at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal. From an EU standpoint, the deal has positives and negatives. The green light was given to create a global cap and trade system for airplane emissions, but a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the EU’s highly-controversial Emissions Trading System (ETS) application to air transport.

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By Natalie Fahey, European Institute

The most important conclusion of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released today ahead of the next UN climate change conference in Warsaw, Poland in November - is that the scientific community can now say with 95% certainty that "human influence has been the dominant cause" of global warming since the mid 20th century.  While previous assessment reports have drawn similar conclusions, NPR's Richard Harris remarks that the significance of the report is that it "underlines that the more scientists study this issue, the more confident they are that human activities are changing the planet."

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On July 16, 2013, The European Institute welcomed The Honorable Peter Liese, Member of the European Parliament and Rapporteur for inclusion of aviation in the ETS, The Honorable Julie Oettinger, Assistant Administrator for Policy at the Federal Aviation Administration, and John Schmitz, Partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, to discuss the future of global regulation of aviation emissions. The panelists discussed the contested extension of the Emissions Trading Scheme to the aviation sector by the European Union and the prospects for reaching agreement on a global framework at the International Civil Aviation Organization’s plenary meeting this September. The discussion was moderated by Annie Petsonk, International Counsel at Environmental Defense Fund.

On June 24, 2013, The European Institute welcomed His Excellency Petr Gandalovic, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the United States, to a discussion on the challenges of moving towards a low-carbon economy at a time of economic austerity. The Ambassador gave prepared remarks on behalf of the Minister of Environment, The Honorable Tomas Chalupa, and offered his country’s perspective on mitigating the impact of climate change, while furthering efforts to diversify energy resources and build a sustainable economic recovery. The Honorable Tomas Tesar, Deputy Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic, also participated in the panel discussion.