The debate over biofuels has heated up on both sides of the Atlantic in recent weeks, with the current prime biofuel - ethanol made from corn - now being blamed as a contributing factor to the dramatic rise in the price of food around the world.

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The Hon. Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for the Environment of the European Commission highlighted the new public awareness of climate change that includes a sustainable policy toward reducing global warming. He stated that there has been significant progress in moving towards this policy not only in government but also in business. Commissioner Dimas stressed that the United States and European Union have the important role of leading the rest of the world to act fast on limiting the impacts, like nature disasters, of carbon dioxide emissions. A discussion followed on the future solutions to energy and climate issues. The meeting was chaired by The Hon. William Nitze, Chairman of GridPoint, Inc. and the Climate Institute, who added that there is no time to waste in engaging developing countries such as China and India into energy and climate policies. Participants also raised the issue of how the auto industry could be part of finding solutions to climate change, suggesting that the commercial development of biofuels was one answer. The dialogue addressed the need for a transatlantic approach to climate change and energy policy.

From the Guardian (UK) (Feb 23, 2008):

The Bush administration yesterday urged the EU to stop dithering over the building of a $6bn (£3bn) gas pipeline from the Caspian basin to central Europe and reduce its growing dependence on Russia’s Gazprom.

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H.E. Wegger Chr. Strommen, Ambassador of Norway to the U.S.; Rafe Pomerance, President of the Climate Policy Center; George Newton, former Chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, and Amb. David Balton, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and Fisheries, discussed key issues related to the Arctic, such as climate change, territorial claims, and energy. Mark Gaspar, Director of Coast Guard Systems for Lockheed Martin Washington Operations outlined the private sector’s technical developments that would allow the Arctic states and others to deal with these issues.

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.

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