NEWS

How the confrontation played out

January 17, 2008. Commissioner Dimas addresses Parliament’s environment committee, where Deputy Environment Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis observes that in the second pollution-distribution plan, Greece is to reduce emissions by 16.6 percent. Dimas corrects him, although he makes a mistake by mentioning a 6.4 percent reduction instead of 6.4 million tons. He says the UN regards Greece’s greenhouse gas monitoring system as unreliable and warns the country risks being discredited. January 18, 2008. Souflias issues a harsh statement, emphasizing Dimas’s mistake. He claims that 2005 was not taken as a reference point for the reduction, but future estimates. He insisted that the issue with the UN had ended. Dimas corrects his mistake, but insists that 2005 was in fact taken as the reference point and provided details of the UN’s suit against Greece for non-compliance with the Kyoto Protocol. The ministry refers to inaccuracies and accuses the commissioner of danger-mongering. January 22, 2008. An interview with Dimas is published in Kathimerini in which the commissioner says Greece will be called upon to answer to the UN because of its unreliable greenhouse gas monitoring system. He urges the ministry to vent less anger and do more work. Souflias accused the commissioner of expressing environmentally friendly views in order to boost his own public image and of ingratitude to the country that appointed him to his current post. «Irritation and bad tempers do not allow for a presentation of serious arguments,» replied Dimas. A decision by the UN Compliance Committee to ask Greece for an explanation for failing to meet its Kyoto Protocol obligations indicates the ministry’s mistaken handling of the case.