Minister rebuffs EU’s CO2 warning

Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday dismissed as «theoretical» a warning by European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, according to which Greece faces «irreversible consequences» if it fails to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Reacting to the comments made by Dimas in Athens last week, Souflias said the government had «a complete policy which aims to fulfill the commitments which Greece has undertaken opposite the Kyoto treaty.» «We remain true to our obligation to tackle the major problem of global warming,» he added. According to Dimas, Greece has already failed to restrict its CO2 emissions to 25 percent by 2010, as demanded by the Kyoto treaty, and will reach 40 percent «unless strict measures are taken immediately.» Souflias said the government was implementing a 10-point plan of action to curb pollution but reeled off a list of Greece’s obligations as an EU state to curb toxic emissions and embrace cleaner energies. In a related development yesterday, Athens Prefect Yiannis Sgouros blamed the Environment Ministry for the polluted Kifissos River, saying it has failed to fund an agency it appointed itself four years ago to solve the problem. «There is a huge environmental problem here. And the ministry has failed to finance its own project,» Sgouros said. He called on Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to intervene and appealed for a cross-party consensus on the issue.