President János Áder, in his latest environmental Blue Planet podcast, discussed the relationship between science and democracy, the level of commitment of visionary leaders, and other issues with climate researcher Diána Ürge-Vorsatz.
Continuing his discussion with Ürge-Vorsatz, a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), from last month, Áder underscored the importance of prevention efforts when it comes to the fight against climate change.
For every dollar invested, 6 dollars’ worth of damage from climate change can be prevented, the president said.
Ürge-Vorsatz said the situation was similar when it came to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the pandemic could have been stopped had countries listened to scientists and kept restrictions in place longer.
Whereas lockdown measures were effective in curbing the spread of the virus in places like Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Vietnam and Thailand, “the most prosperous democracies” had deemed the sacrifices recommended by experts to be too great, she said. Today, however, it can be said that the damage caused by the pandemic far exceeds the losses that would have been incurred from longer lockdowns, she added.
Ürge-Vorsatz said that as a scientist, she would make the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory, arguing that doing so would be in society’s interest. The world is now dealing with a more contagious mutation of the virus, she said, adding that a higher inoculation rate was required to achieve herd immunity.
Áder and Ürge-Vorsatz were also in agreement that tackling climate change also required action from localities, not just at the national level. The president highlighted the international climate protection cooperation scheme Under2 Coalition, whose members, including Hungary’s major cities, pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.
Concerning the impact of climate change on central Europe, Ürge-Vorsatz said only two regions in the world faced greater threats to their biological diversity than the Carpathian Basin.
Áder noted that the Hungarian Panel on Climate Change (HuPCC) is organising a conference this month on the climate situation in Hungary. The organisation plans to publish a report on its findings in the second half of 2023, Ürge-Vorsatz said.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI