G8 summit leaders discuss energy, food security

By Kris Bevill | July 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted July 11, 2008 at 10:13 a.m. CST

Leaders of the most powerful countries in the world met in Hokkaido, Tokyo, on July 7-9 for the G8 summit. Leaders from the United States, Japan, Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Russia spent time discussing a number of issues, such as food security, energy security, climate change and issues relating to the global economy, including the price of oil.

On Tuesday, July 8, the leaders issued a joint statement on global food security which said they agree that a mid- and long-term plan is needed to combat food security and poverty issues. "To this end, we will ensure the compatibility of policies for the sustainable production and use of biofuels with food security and accelerate development and commercialization of sustainable second-generation biofuels from non-food plant materials and inedible biomass," the statement said. The leaders also said they would accelerate research, development and access to technologies in order to boost agricultural production.
In a separate declaration on the environment and climate change, G8 leaders stated that they recognize the important role renewable energy will play in reversing climate change and eliminating the world's dependency on fossil fuels. "We underscore the importance of sustainable biofuel production and use," the declaration said. "The same should apply for the broader use of biomass for fuel, heat and electricity. We are committed to continuing research and development of second generation biofuel technologies."
Prior to the official start of the G8 summit, leaders from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, the European Bioethanol Fuel Association, Brazil's Sugar Cane Industry Association and the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to G8 members reminding them of the critical role biofuels play in reducing world-demand for oil. "As the leaders of the world's most industrialized nations, you can imagine what would happen to oil prices in the absence of biofuel production," the letter said.

On the final day of the summit, G8 leaders met with leaders of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Indonesia and South Korea to discuss issues relating to the world economy and food security.