Energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G8), plus China, India and South Korea, expressed concerns on Sunday (8 June) about the impact of soaring crude oil prices on the world economy, calling for better energy efficiency and more nuclear power.

"Current high oil prices are unprecedented and against the interest of either consuming or producing countries. They pose a heavy burden – particularly on resource-scarce developing countries," the group of countries said in a joint statement, released after the ministers' meeting in Hokkaido, Japan.

Over the past four years, crude oil prices have more than tripled, from $40 per barrel in 2004 to nearly $140 at the close of markets Friday (6 June). The meteoric price rise has caused public protests and riots in developed and developing economies alike.

The joint statement makes no mention of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has come under pressure to increase crude oil production in order to bring prices down.

Rather, the text cites ministers' commitment to energy efficiency improvements that would make economies less vulnerable to oil prices. The potential of nuclear energy to provide a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuel-based electricity production is also deal with extensively in the statement.

Germany is the only member of the G8 to oppose a push for new investments in nuclear power installations and is sticking to its pledge to phase out the technology.

Meanwihle the International Energy Agency (IEA) is calling for a major boost in clean technologies to address the world's soaring demand for energy. Nuclear, along with carbon capture and storage (CCS), renewable energies and energy efficiency, "all must play a much more important role," the IEA said in a 6 June press statement.

Japan will host the next summit for heads of state from G8 countries - the US, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Japan - on 7-9 July.