Greece returns to Kyoto scheme

A United Nations committee has decided to reinstate Greece in the emissions-trading system of the Kyoto Protocol after a seven-month suspension, the Environment and Public Works Ministry revealed yesterday. Greece was suspended from taking part in the UN scheme in April after inspectors found that methods for testing pollution levels were inadequate. But in a new report, UN officials say Greece is now in line with international standards. «The compliance committee decided unanimously that Greece fulfils all the prerequisites to participate in the flexible mechanisms of Kyoto,» a statement issued by the ministry said yesterday. In April, Greece was told it must develop a new and more effective system of measuring emissions. The ministry indicated yesterday that this new system was up and running. «Our country has undertaken the necessary institutional and structural reforms to ensure that a national system for measuring greenhouse gases can operate comprehensively,» it said. In a related development yesterday, environmentalists warned that the Evros Delta in northern Greece was becoming increasingly polluted. They said it was in danger of being added to a list of seven wetlands that are supposedly protected under the Ramsar Convention – an international treaty for the conservation of such areas – but which are thought to have been neglected. As the Evros river straddles both Turkey and Bulgaria, cross-border cooperation is necessary to effectively curb pollution in the area, conservationists say. The highly polluted Koroneia and Volvi Lakes are already on Ramsar’s ‘black list.’