Energy ministers from the Group of Eight nations wrapped up their two-day conference in Detroit by saying they would explore new sources of energy as demand grows around the world.
Leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and Russia met behind closed doors Friday to finalize recommendations for member nations on energy security, sustainability and alternative fuel technologies.
The G8 energy leaders said quick responses to supply crises are critical to ensure global energy security.
They also said energy diversification-- the use of non-petroleum sources -- and the maintaining of petroleum and other reserves by member nations are imperative to security.
According to Department of Energy estimates, world demand for fossil fuel is outpacing the supply.
Alternative sources include nuclear power and renewable energy sources.
During a briefing prior to the closed-door sessions Friday, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the G8 leaders would discuss a number of topics that affect global consumption and production.
"I found our discussions extremely worthwhile," Abraham said. "The similarities of our nations' energy needs are many, and the challenges we face are similar as well." The two-day meeting was a prelude to the larger G8 summit that will take place June 26-27 in Kananaskis, Canada.
G8 nations generate more than 70 percent of the world's energy supply and consume 40 million barrels of crude oil a day. The world's largest industrialized nations also spend the most on research and development for energy technology, to the tune of $432 billion last year.
Conference cohosts Abraham and Herb Dahliwal, Canada's minister of natural resources, spoke about the need to quell some of the volatility that has caused drastic fluctuations in oil prices over the last three years. For example, the price of crude oil has jumped almost $6 a barrel since January and currently hovers around $26 a barrel.
They also pointed out that regular meetings between energy producers and consumers will help foster greater cooperation among G8 members and other nations.
"We've indicated that we are supportive of the notion of an ongoing voluntary dialogue with producing nations like Saudi Arabia," Abraham said.
But one issue that continues to split some of the G8 members as well as environmental groups is global warming.
"Climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions," Dahliwal said. "Going around the table of energy ministers, I know there is a real commitment to reduce greenhouse gases."
The Canadian minister's sentiments were echoed by Abraham at the news conference. But those critical of the U.S. position on global warming were not impressed.
"There wasn't any evidence as the G8 convened their meeting in Detroit that they were preparing to take any real decisive steps towards addressing global warming challenges as laid out in the Kyoto treaty," said Alison Horton, Midwest regional director for the Sierra Club.
The Kyoto treaty of 1997 calls for industrialized nations to reduce worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases by 5 percent by 2012. That agreement was signed by nearly 180 countries.
The United States backed out of the treaty last year, citing potential harm to American competitiveness. President George W. Bush says U.S. companies can reduce greenhouse gases and global warming voluntarily by monitoring their own emission levels.
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