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.

williamnitzeAre United States and Europe,  leaders in the developed world,  diverging or converging on national energy policies?  The question is important since common policies are more likely to set global standards.    But there is no single answer because the answer  differs depending  on which part of the energy sector one is talking about.  Accordingly, I will try to answer the question sector by sector starting with oil and proceeding through natural gas, non-hydro renewable and energy efficiency, and ending with climate change.  It should be noted that oil is used almost exclusively in the transportation sector; natural gas for electricity production and heating; and non-hydro renewables for electricity production.  Energy efficiency and climate change involve both the transportation and electricity sectors.

Read More

On November 29, 2012, The European Institute hosted a seminar following the Arctic Council’s formal Senior Arctic Official meeting in Sweden. This seminar brought together representatives of the Arctic Council’s member states and focused on the evolution of the Arctic’s governance and the prospects for ensuring sustainable economic development in this fragile and resource rich region. Panelists included: Berit Enge, Minister Counselor, Political Affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy; Dr. John Farrell, Executive Director, U.S. Arctic Research Commission; Julia Gourley, U.S. Senior Arctic Official, U.S. Department of State; Ambassador Hannu Halinen, Ambassador, Arctic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland; Fred Larsen, CEO, Lamor; Ida Heimann Larsen, Minister Counselor, Economic, Royal Danish Embassy; Eva Hunnius Ohlin, Environmental Technology Officer, Embassy of Sweden; Sheila Riordon, Minister, Political Affairs, Embassy of Canada and former Canadian Senior Arctic Official; Brian Robinson, U.S. Coast Guard Liaison, Office of Oceans & Polar Affairs, U.S. Department of State; His Excellency Gudmundur Arni Stefansson, Ambassador of Iceland to the United States; and Ambassador Anton Vasiliev, Senior Arctic Official of the Russian Federation. James Graff, Executive Editor of The Week moderated the discussion.

Click here to read Ambassador Vasiliev's remarks.

On September 18th, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion with Rolf Einar Fife, Director General of the Department of Legal Affairs at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  As the chief Norwegian negotiator of the breakthrough 2010 agreement with Russia on maritime boundaries in the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean, Mr. Fife explained the process of negotiating agreements for resolving competing claims on Arctic resources and stressed the importance of the International Law of the Sea treaty as a “rule book” for governing the Arctic.

On March 7, 2012, The European Institute hosted a breakfast discussion on Germany's nuclear phase-out agenda and its commitment to renewable energy sources. R. Andreas Kraemer, Director of the Ecological Institute in Berlin, focused on the reasons behind Germany's gradual nuclear dependency reduction, as well as the process and challenges involved in the country's transition to renewable energy. A panel discussion followed with Edward McGinnis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation at the U.S. Department of Energy and Günter Hörmandinger, Counselor for the Environment at the Delegation of the European Union, who outlined the U.S. and the EU's respective views on nuclear phase-out and alternative energy policies.

Get updates from EI@UMD