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G8 leaders to urge more nuke plants

Summit to take stand against global warming

Kyodo News

The Group of Eight leaders will agree at their summit next week on a new initiative to expand civilian use of atomic power to curb global warming with the principles of ensuring nonproliferation, safety and nuclear security, according to a draft of a postsummit statement.

The G8 leaders will also agree to set national goals and formulate action plans to improve energy efficiency and promote clean energy, including solar power, both followed by appropriate monitoring, the draft statement says.

The undated draft has no reference to last year’s proposal by Japan to halve global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, only saying the G8 leaders “reconfirm the significance of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as providing the most comprehensive scientific knowledge.”

The G8 is considering a plan to invest in research and development of innovative technologies for the environment, including carbon dioxide capture and storage, with a G8 target of at least $10 billion annually, the draft says. The amount, however, is in brackets.

The group’s nuclear power initiative comes as surging oil prices prompt countries to diversify energy sources from fossil fuels on which they have heavily depended. China, India and Russia are building more nuclear plants, but there are concerns over potential accidents and diversion of atomic technologies to military use.

“Recognizing that ensuring safeguards (nuclear nonproliferation), nuclear safety and nuclear security forms a sound basis for international transparency and confidence in the sustainable development of nuclear power, we agree on a G8 initiative to assist countries in ensuring 3S,” the draft says, calling on China and others to join the initiative.

“We affirm the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in this process,” it says, suggesting the G8 will cooperate with the IAEA in checking atomic plants, controlling nuclear materials, preventing technology leaks and diversion to military use, as well as crafting an international guideline for the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The draft shows the G8 leaders believe “enhanced commitments or actions by all major economies are essential for tackling climate change,” effectively urging China, India and other major emerging economies to curb their rapidly increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases blamed for the warming of the Earth.

Some data show China has overtaken the United States as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter.

The draft says the Japan-proposed sector-by-sector approach to slashing emissions may help fight global warming.

“Sectoral approaches are a useful tool to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions through dissemination of existing and new technologies in a manner compatible with economic growth,” the draft says.

Using energy efficiency in each sector as a yardstick, the sectoral approach involves determining potential reduction volumes on an industry-by-industry, area-by-area basis that would then be tallied for a quantified national target. Areas include offices, households and transportation.

The leaders will give a positive assessment of market-based mechanisms, including emissions trading and carbon taxes in cutting emissions, saying such measures “can provide pricing signals and have the potential to develop and deploy climate-friendly technologies in the private sector.”

Policy coordination to address climate change will top the agenda at the Toyako summit, which will bring together leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S. and Russia. The European Union also takes part in the G-8 process.