Climate reaction heating up

Greeks are expected to take to the streets in Athens and other major cities to protest against climate change today as the Environment and Public Works Ministry blamed the Foreign Ministry for problems with Greece’s presence at the international environmental conference in Bali. Thousands of Athenians are expected to gather at 1 p.m. today in Syntagma Square in a rally organized by non-governmental organizations to mark the world day against climate change. A similar protest is due to start in Thessaloniki at 1.30 p.m. The protesters will demand, among many things, better protection for the country’s forests and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Environmental group WWF Hellas issued a statement yesterday which slammed the government for failing to adopt a stance on climate change for the UN-sponsored conference in Bali. «We have been trying to find our country’s positions on climate change. If someone finds them, please send them to Bali, in Indonesia,» WWF said in its statement. The same group had earlier in the week criticized the government for only sending one official to the conference. The Environment Ministry later said that it was sending four people to Bali but yesterday indicated that the delay in dispatching them to the conference, which began on December 3, was the Foreign Ministry’s fault, as it had not arranged accreditation in time. However, sources told Kathimerini that the Foreign Ministry had asked the Environment Ministry on three occasions to name the officials it would send to Bali but that the latter had only informed diplomats a week before the conference began.