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Oil shock spurs G8 energy chiefs’ alarm, agreement to act

by Takuya Karube

Kyodo News

AOMORI — Group of Eight energy ministers have agreed on establishing a new international framework aimed at facilitating energy-saving measures to temper climate change and soaring fuel costs, at a time when crude oil is closing in on $140 a barrel.

Japan, which hosted a one-day meeting of the ministers Sunday, and the other G8 members decided to set up the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation and invited China, India, South Korea and other countries to participate in the initiative.

The G8 powers and the three Asian countries, which are responsible for about 65 percent of the world’s energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions, said they share “serious concerns over the current level of oil prices.”

“Recognizing the crucial role of financial and macroeconomic policies in resolving current economic issues, all of us responsible for energy policy should work together,” the energy ministers of the 11 countries said in a joint statement.

This is the first time energy ministers from the G8, China, India and South Korea have all met together and discussed pending issues.

In addition to climate change, soaring food and oil prices are increasing the risk of economic and political instability on a global scale, especially in developing countries, and they will be central agenda items at the G8 summit next month in Hokkaido.

But when it came to singling out the main cause of the turmoil, delegates refrained from going into details, Japanese officials said.