Greece fails UN emissions test

A United Nations committee yesterday deemed that Greece had failed to demonstrate its ability to adequately measure carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions despite having been given several months to come up with a new plan after its system was deemed unreliable by UN officials in April. According to the UN’s compliance committee for the Kyoto Protocol, an action plan submitted by Greek officials in July is «inadequate» and means Greece is unfit to re-enter a greenhouse gas emissions trading program from which it was suspended by the UN in April. The final decision on whether Greece will remain suspended from the program will be taken by the group of United Nations inspectors who visited Athens last month to assess the country’s progress in conforming to UN standards in measuring pollution levels. Asked to comment, an Environment and Public Works Ministry spokesperson insisted that all was not lost, as the final decision had yet to be taken. But environmental groups expressed outrage yesterday, saying authorities had had plenty of time to improve the situation but had failed to take action in a timely fashion. «Greece insisted to the committee that everything was alright, which shows that it had no understanding of the UN’s problem,» Dimitris Lalas, the former president of the Athens Observatory, told Kathimerini. According to Lalas, the extension of Greece’s suspension from the emissions trading program «would create serious problems» as a trial is currently under way to allow businesses in Europe with emissions trading rights to exchange them with those in other parts of the world. The conservation group WWF Hellas was even more scathing in its criticism. «The continued exclusion of our country indicates that we are not even in a position to fulfill our basic environmental obligations,» WWF Hellas president Dimitris Karavellas said.

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