G7 Ministerial and Other Meetings
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Ministerial and Other Meetings

The G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting
On The World Energy Future Communique
Moscow, Russia Federation, April 1, 1998

For additional documents, see also Energy Russia web site.

    Nuclear Safety

  1. Safety is a prerequisite for the operation of nuclear power plants. We recognise that primary responsibility for nuclear safety rests with the operators of nuclear installations and that responsibility for ensuring the effective regulation of nuclear safety rests with national governments. We reaffirm our commitment to the highest internationally recognised safety levels which must be the primary consideration for the exploitation of nuclear energy. In this regard, we attach greatest importance to the full implementation of the Nuclear Safety Account agreements. While recognising that competitive pressures in the electric power sector are substantial and growing, we commit ourselves to keeping safety as our absolute priority in the use of nuclear energy.
  2. We recognise that a proper commercial framework in which nuclear generators receive the revenue from the power which they supply is necessary to generate the financial resources needed to keep nuclear installations safe and enable plant operators to cover their finance and operating costs and make new investments to provide for protection of public health and safety. Thus, appropriate regulation, good management, and financial viability, including cash collection are important elements of a safe nuclear industry.
  3. We recognise that in order to establish conditions ensuring the safe development of nuclear power, expansion and deepening of international co-operation in the nuclear field is necessary.
  4. Transit and Transportation

  5. We recognise that the interdependence of producer, consumer and transit countries requires multilateral co-operation in the development of economically viable international energy transmission networks. We note that many European countries are heavily reliant on oil and gas imports across networks from neighbouring regions and that the economies of energy producers benefit substantially from these exports. Therefore, secure, efficient and sufficient pipelines with diversified routings are of great importance to all parties.
  6. We recognise that links and capacity problems between producing and consuming regions can best be alleviated through a market-driven approach to infrastructures development and resulting private investment. As with other forms of energy investment, governments must play a role in creating the appropriate framework conditions which favour the mobilisation of private investment capital. In this light, transit provisions such as those of the Energy Charter Treaty provide an effective framework on which to develop such conditions.
  7. We reaffirm that construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines, as well as electric transmission lines, should take appropriate account of safety and environmental requirements. International co-ordination on safety and environmental standards and the technical specifications for meeting them is essential to ensure the security of supply. But consistent with public policy objectives including environmental safeguards, construction of new lines or the use of existing lines should be open to all commercial participants and contribute to security of supply.
  8. We note that, unlike oil and gas markets, electricity, being a secondary energy source, has historically developed in regional markets. Power grids have complex and capital intensive technical requirements for their operation and interconnection. Establishment of economically viable connections between now separate grids should be pursued.
  9. We agree that access to pipelines and transmission lines should be available on a non-discriminatory basis. This will optimise access to markets, assist the diversification of imported energy, support private investment and promote effective use of oil and natural gas reserves. Non discriminatory access to secured pipelines greatly contributes to development of energy resources, especially in landlocked countries or areas such as Central Asia, the Caucasus, and Siberia, and their integration to the world market.
  10. Energy and Environment

  11. We recognise that all stages of the energy cycle production, transport, conversion and end use can have significant environmental impacts on a local, regional, and global scale. We welcome the agreed legally binding targets at the Third Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto in December 1997 which will result in an overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in industrialised countries to 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels, this target represents a reduction in emissions of the order of 20 to 30 % below the levels that would be expected without mitigating action.
  12. We reaffirm the commitments on emission reduction made by our countries in the Kyoto Protocol. Policies and measures to achieve these reductions are expected to include those aiming at improving energy efficiency, including responsible use of less carbon-intensive energy such as natural gas, renewables and nuclear. Mechanisms such as international emissions trading, joint implementation and project activities under the clean development mechanism are expected to be important elements in the fulfillment of the Kyoto commitments. We also affirm the importance of making progress on the development of rules on these flexible mechanisms at COP4.
  13. We recognise the important role developing countries will need to play in future climate change response, particularly given their urgent need for further economic development. While acknowledging the efforts they are making already, we urge our developing country partners to take on further action to limit their emissions. There are many opportunities to reduce emissions and at the same time achieve economic benefits, for example through improved energy efficiency. We also note the important role that transfer of technologies practices and processes, particularly through the private sector, will play in the mitigation efforts of developing countries.
  14. We recognise that in order to meet the Kyoto targets in a cost-effective fashion, it will be essential to accelerate the market adoption of more efficient technologies for energy production, transportation and use which are currently available in particular those which improve energy efficiency or develop renewable energy sources. Substantial efficiency gaps remain between the best available technologies and those currently in use, and we note the potential that exists in many countries to improve efficiency through new investments with net economic benefits.
  15. We recognise the need to maintain strong long-run research and development efforts to further improve the efficiency of technologies for energy production, transportation, and use, as well as to lower their costs and note the role of governments in working with industry to support the development of climate friendly technologies. Growing competition in energy markets makes it more important for industry to sustain adequate long-run R&D efforts, to which governments should also be vigilant.
  16. We recognise that governments play an important leadership role in promoting the adoption of more efficient, less carbon-intensive energy technologies in close cooperation with the private sector.
  17. With the continued development of new technologies, renewable energy sources such as solar, small hydro and wind power are becoming increasingly economic. For environmental and security reasons, we welcome encouragement by governments to increase the share of such renewable energy sources in primary energy.
  18. Conclusions

  19. We call upon the co-chairs to forward this report to the leaders gathered for the Birmingham Summit. We are pleased to note the consensus achieved today on such important issues as energy market reforms, nuclear safety, and the strong links between how we produce and use energy and the quality of the environment we share. We agree to continue to pursue these vital issues through bilateral channels and the relevant multilateral fora.

Source: Canada, Office of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

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