U.S. Officials in Moscow Say Free Market Can Cut High Fuel Costs
Representatives of G8 nations are meeting in Russia for energy ministerial
By Vince Crawley
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington -- The United States seeks market-based solutions to high fuel costs and promotes carefully protected nuclear power as an alternative clean fuel source, Bush administration officials said in advance of a Group of Eight (G8) energy ministerial in Moscow.
“As economies around the world grow, we will need more safe, affordable and dependable supplies of energy,” Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said March 15 in Moscow, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) news release.
Bodman is on a four-nation tour. He already has visited Pakistan and Kazakhstan and plans to visit Hungary for a regional conference before returning to the United States. (See related article.)
During his two days in Russia, Bodman is leading the U.S. delegation to the G8 Energy Ministerial on March 16. The G8 nations include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.
During the energy meeting, Bodman plans to discuss the importance of market-oriented approaches that encourage investment, competition, market pricing, transparency, stability and reliability. He is also seeking to “encourage the advancement of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, including renewable energy and emissions-free nuclear power,” according to DOE. In addition, he plans to discuss ways to mitigate energy-supply disruptions, such as maintaining emergency stockpiles, diversifying global transit routes and strengthening infrastructure security.
On March 13, Deputy Commerce Secretary David Sampson spoke in Moscow at the International Conference on Energy Security, which addressed issues related to the G8 ministerial.
“All of us know the reasons behind today’s high energy prices,” Sampson said in prepared remarks released by the Commerce Department. Those reasons include “rising global demand – war and uncertainty in the Middle East – and the impact of extreme weather in the U.S. and elsewhere on oil and gas production,” he said.
“History has clearly demonstrated that market-based solutions offer the best solutions to economic problems,” Samson said. Because of private-sector innovation, U.S. energy efficiency increased nearly 50 percent over the past 30 years, he said. U.S. economic growth has averaged 3.2 percent a year over the past decade, while energy consumption grew only 1.2 percent a year.
GLOBAL NUCLEAR ENERGY PARTNERSHIP
Before the G8 ministerial, Bodman spoke March 15 at the Carnegie Moscow Center about the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The initiative, announced in February, seeks to expand the nuclear power industry around the world without raising the risk of nuclear proliferation. (See related article.)
The Department of Energy said GNEP’s main goals are to:
• Reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels;
• Recycle nuclear fuel using new proliferation-resistant technologies;
• Encourage growing prosperity and clean development; and
• Use the latest technologies to reduce nuclear proliferation worldwide.
During his visit to Moscow, Bodman also planned to meet with business leaders and Russian government officials.