NEWS

Just a passing fad

It all started this summer when the government’s public relations team blamed «climate change» for the wildfires that swept the country. Cabinet ministers and the ruling party’s deputies got the message. Until then, getting an environmentally friendly sound bite from any of them had been like getting blood from a stone. Suddenly references to «the environment,» «greenhouse effect» and «the climate» were rolling off their tongues. It is true that around the world protection of the environment is an issue that is very much in vogue. Greek politicians have been quick to pick up on the trend (casting furtive eyes at Eurobarometer figures that indicate Greeks’ concern with these issues). At least they say they are. For as all of us who report on environmental issues are aware, even after the unprecedented horror of the destruction this last summer, there has been no policy change; it is business as usual. On the one hand, we are told that climate change is to blame for the fires and the flooding, but nothing is being done to abolish the country’s dependence on mineral fuels. Why is there no courageous attempt to invest in renewable sources of energy? Why don’t we ensure that our buildings don’t waste so much energy? Why do our emissions of greenhouse gases continue to increase? Perhaps it is because, as economist Dimitris Zegelis, one of the authors of the Stern Report, told Kathimeirni recently, we might be waiting for a warning from the European Union. «With regard to climate change, you follow other countries, you don’t take the initiative yourselves. And that will cost you,» he said. It seems our government ministers see it as a passing fad. From the December issue of Eco.