EU rap for Athens over emissions

European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas yesterday issued a stern rebuke against the government for allegedly inadequately monitoring its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, saying that Greece could sabotage efforts by other European Union states to curb global warming. «Greece is the only country in the EU that has a problem,» Dimas told Parliament’s environmental committee in Athens. Speaking after the United Nations issued a fresh warning to the government to get its act together, Dimas called on the Environment and Public Works Ministry to establish a system that effectively measures CO2 emissions. A UN report published at the end of last month questioned the «viability and transparency» of the Greek system for measuring CO2 emissions. If Greece fails to solve this problem it may sabotage the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which other member states are working hard to support, Dimas said. «This issue can create a problem for the entire EU – imagine the ridicule for our country,» he told Parliament. Dimas questioned forecasts by Greek authorities, according to which CO2 emissions will be curbed by 16.6 percent by 2012, saying that authorities had only reached the 6 percent mark so far. Dimas also took the opportunity yesterday to slam Greece on a range of other issues including irresponsible tourism development. «It is illogical to permit the construction of swimming pools on islands which have no water,» Dimas said, suggesting that such projects should carry a special tax. The commissioner also called for a tax on «the tractors of Kolonaki,» referring to the large, fuel-guzzling sports utility vehicles that are becoming increasingly popular with Athenians. In a related development yesterday, the European Court of Justice slammed Greece for failing to comply with directives on energy saving in buildings. Deputy Environment and Public Works Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis conceded that Greece had a long way to go to meet European Union standards but stressed that energy saving was a matter being handled by the Development Ministry.