Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Crazy Russians Suggest Unfettered Growth Not Good

"The world should rethink its emphasis on unfettered economic growth and boost efforts to create environmentally-friendly sources of fuel, a draft statement by oil and gas giant Russia ahead of a G8 summit says.

The statement, drafted by the Russian energy ministry for a meeting of several United Nations energy ministers, urges G8 governments not to let economic growth take precedence over fighting poverty and securing energy supplies.

"The traditional industrial development model, aimed at unrestricted economic growth, requires serious adjustment," the statement, obtained by Reuters, said.

Governments should consider "specific features of the increasingly interdependent world economy, the exhaustibility of world resources and the aggravation of humanitarian problems, nowadays closely linked to energy problems," it said.

The communique, which has not been agreed by the ministers and may be changed, is addressed to leaders of the Group of Eight rich nations, who will meet in Germany next week.

Russia is organising the event with the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A UNESCO spokeswoman said, however, that only 12 nations from the group's 192 members were sending ministers.

Aside from the Russia, none of the G8 major powers have confirmed they will attend the UNESCO event. The U.N. agency's spokeswoman said the declaration still has to be negotiated with all of the participants at the conference.

The statement makes no mention of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel hopes to make a cornerstone of the G8 summit she will chair.

But it presses for breakthroughs in developing renewable energy sources including hydrogen, thermonuclear, solar, and biofuels in order to shift energy dependence away from more traditional, polluting fuel sources such as oil.


"The international community, in the interests of a prosperous future for all its citizens, should redouble its efforts to develop, implement and disseminate environmentally clean renewable energies as a realistic alternative to traditional forms of energy generation," the statement said.

Russia is the world's second-largest oil exporter and the world's largest gas producer. It is the 27-nation European Union's biggest energy supplier and has often looked warily at EU plans to diversify energy sources.

Russia itself is set to rely on traditional sources of fuel for decades to come, though analysts say energy efficiency measures could help Russia halve its domestic gas consumption, which would be enough to meet a quarter of European gas needs.

The statement calls on the G8 to agree on the "exchange of advanced energy technologies" to boost energy efficiency and to ensure "the stability of the world energy system."

It said G8 leaders should agree on international standards for energy education and a classification system for standards of "energy supply quality."

Ministers from Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Kuwait, Mongolia, Russia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uruguay have confirmed they will attend, the UNESCO spokeswoman said. Delegates from the other nations will likely participate, in addition to representatives from the European Commission and other international institutions.

(additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov in Moscow)"

From Reuters. The world is getting ahead of us. What a surprise.

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