The U.S. and the four Asian nations, together accounting for half the world’s energy consumption, said today wider use of alternative fuels such as clean coal, nuclear power, and renewables will help bolster energy security.
Investing more in oil and gas to boost output capacity and greater effort in accessing petroleum reserves will also expand supplies of conventional fuels, helping to tame energy prices, according to the joint statement.
Note that no timetable was annouced.
The real significance of this move was China’s statement that it intends to reduce subsidies. Of the countries participating in the announcement, only China and India keep prices artificially low. India’s regime has been under tremendous strain, and price increases for fuel (save kerosene, used by the poor for cooking) were announced last week, but more are expected to be in the offing.
By contrast, China has given no sign that it intends to let prices rise, although many observers anticipated it would once the Olympics are past.
Bear in mind that Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Vietnam have also reduced energy subsidies as skyrocketing oil prices are making them untenable.