DETROIT - By coming together to help shape themes of energy policy, an expert on energy and globalization said Thursday that the two-day Group of Eight energy summit can help strengthen the ties between nations and build a stronger future.
The remarks from Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, opened the energy forum surrounding the meeting of the G-8 ministers.
Yergin stressed the importance of shared energy policy in global security, development and economic growth — some of the themes to be addressed at the conference.
"Maybe the most important commodity of all for powering the world economy is confidence," he said. "I would argue that confidence is more likely to endure if it is anchored, if it is tempered."
Michigan Gov. John Engler welcomed participants to the state, saying that cooperation between business, government and researchers is paramount to develop the next generation of energy technology.
Through this, he said, energy can be made cleaner, cheaper and more efficient.
"Let us make the most of a future powered by imagination and innovation" Engler said.
The Thursday-Friday summit is the first G-8 gathering to focus on energy since a Moscow meeting in 1998. The event was outlined as a major goal of President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s national energy policy proposal unveiled a year ago.
In a morning news conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (news - web sites) announced that his department will host an International Conference on the Future of Energy Transportation Technologies in Detroit this fall.
Abraham said the number of vehicles on the road is expected to climb to more than 3 billion in the next 50 years, and "vehicle emissions are already contributing to unhealthy air qualities in cities around the world."
The purpose of the conference will be to have an international discussion of advanced transportation technologies, such as the development of hydrogen as a primary fuel for vehicles, that will address how to handle environmental problems, Abraham said. The conference will be open to all interested nations.
Gary Skulnik, a Greenpeace spokesman, said it's not enough to talk about cleaner vehicles.
"We need to show real commitment by investing resources now," Skulnik said. "The future's here. ... There are hybrids on the road."
At the G-8 summit this week, leaders also will discuss technology as well as energy security and regulatory opportunities.
The countries participating in the summit are the United States, Canada, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and France.
On Friday, the U.S. and Canadian delegates will co-chair a meeting of the G-8 ministers.
Meanwhile, local law enforcement officials have increased security and practiced riot-control techniques to prepare for the arrival of the energy ministers.
Protesters at a G-8 meeting in July touched off riots in Genoa, Italy, where one protester was killed.
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