OPINION

Good news and bad news

The good news is that compared to the previous global environment summit in Nairobi, Greece’s official delegation in Bali was upgraded. The bad news is that the upgrade was a marginal one, elevating the country’s representation from really poor to simply poor. At the present rate, it will be 2030 by the time Greece sends a delegation with a minister and a group of scientists. Of course, meetings by that time will no longer have a preventive nature. Time waits for no man. The good news is that the government delegation managed to locate the Indonesian island before the end of the summit. The bad news is that the discussions and negotiations were over by that time. Worse still, Greece’s report – which was, needless to say, belatedly submitted – was a copy of a previous one plus a small addendum of 2005 data. The good news is that two Greek ministries were involved in the issue and their ministers made some passionate pledges. The bad news is that their passion was not borne out of concern for environmental developments but the need to duck responsibility for the poor preparation (like securing accreditations) ahead of a crucial meeting – where «crucial» is indeed an understatement. The good news is that in his Lisbon speech, the prime minister called for «urgent action and coordinated policy on a global level» on the environment. The bad news is that these remarks were made by the head of a tardy government whose term saw Greece’s greatest environmental catastrophe. For even if we accept that the summer wildfires were the product of an «asymmetrical threat,» who is to blame for the failure to ban hunting in the devastated areas, the economic exploitation of the fire-ravaged coastal zone of Kaiafas, Greece’s pitiful recycling record, or failure to comply with the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse emissions?