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Energy ministers focus on oil prices, global warming
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Energy ministers of the Group of Eight member countries and China, South Korea and India gathered Sunday in the northeastern Japanese city of Aomori to talk about rocketing crude oil prices and the role of energy efficiency against global warming.

China, South Korea and India were invited to take part in discussions following G8 members' one-hour exclusive meeting in the morning.

In his opening address, host and Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari said the current unprecedented and abnormally high oil prices could lead to a recession of the world economy if no action were taken.

He called on all participating countries to pay enough attention and make utmost efforts for the stability of the oil market.

The G8, which groups France, Britain, Germany, Canada, Italy, Russia, Japan, and the United States, together with China, South Korea and India, consume over 50 percent of world energy and are accountable for the same proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Amari described the issues of climate change and energy as two sides of the same coin and proposed united solutions, such as energy saving, alternative energy forms and innovative technology, to address both issues simultaneously.

"As officials in charge of energy policies, we bear great responsibilities for energy security, prevention of climate change and economic development," Amari added.

The meeting was to see ongoing diversified opinions over reasons leading to the doubling of oil prices in the past 18 months, as China attributed it to mounting speculations and the United States insisted it's a mere result of unbalanced demands and supply.

Crude oil prices surged an astonishing 11 dollars to reach a new record high in New York on Friday.

The energy ministers meeting was one of a series of ministerial meetings in the run up to the G8 summit to be held in northern Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture on July 7-9.

Japanese officials said discussions at the meeting would be reflected at the summit, whose agenda would be dominated by issues involving climate change.

In line with the summit agenda, the energy ministers meeting will adopt a declaration announcing the establishment of a new framework called International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), which says energy saving and efficiency is one of the quickest, greenest, and most cost-effective way to address energy security, climate change, and ensuring economic growth.

Under the new framework, the G8 plus three and potential participants will enhance cooperation and exchange information on environment-friendly technologies for united efforts against global warming.

(Xinhua News Agency June 8, 2008)

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