Greek eco record slammed

Greece is seriously neglecting its commitments to curb global warming, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions up by 25 percent – one of the worst records among developed countries, the WWF Hellas environmental protection group said yesterday. Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Australia are the only countries in the developed world to have recorded a greater rise in CO2 emissions than Greece since 1990, WWF said. The group attributes Greece’s dismal record to its reliance on fossil fuels (such as lignite and oil), its poor record in promoting the use of renewable energy sources and the lack of a comprehensive energy saving plan. WWF’s «climate change speedometer» shows Greece to be well inside the dangerous «red zone» as compared to «model» countries like Britain, France and Germany. WWF called on the government to «respond to the growing social concern about the repercussions of climate change.» A good start would be for a government delegation to attend a United Nations summit on climate change in Bali on December 3 to 14, the group said. In a related development yesterday, President Karolos Papoulias reiterated his concern about environmental protection during a visit to Kalamata in the Peloponnese. Referring to the destruction of vast tracts of forestland in August’s fatal fires, Papoulias said, «There are no excuses for postponing the assumption of our responsibilities – we have a serious duty to protect the land that we have inherited and will pass on to future generations.» Environmental concerns were also high on the agenda of European Union officials who discussed waste management reforms with Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis. According to sources, the EU officials broadly supported the mayor’s proposal to create two new landfills and three recycling centers but stressed that hundreds of illegal dumps across the country must be closed down. «Local authorities must accelerate efforts to make up for lost time,» Kaklamanis said, proposing closer cooperation between Athens and Brussels.