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.

By Dan Mahoney, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

In a narrow vote, 334-315, the European Parliament this week rejected a Commission proposal to reduce the amount of carbon permits granted by the EU under its Emissions Trading System (ETS). The Commission’s plan is called “backloading” because the withdrawn carbon allowances would be offered in future years.

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By Brian Beary, U.S. Correspondent for ”Europolitics”

When the US Congress reconvenes in lame duck-session after the November elections, it is expected to finalize legislation that would authorize the U.S. government to prohibit U.S airlines from participating in the EU Emission Trading System (ETS).  Last month, the US Senate followed the House of Representatives in opposing the airlines emissions measure, and both houses will now have to reconcile the variances in their respective versions.

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By Zachary Laven, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

In the tug-of-war over new EU rules levying carbon taxes on airlines’ flights, the U.S. has signaled for the first time that failure to change or at least postpone the European plan could hold up future progress on global climate-change talks.

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