The global climate conference in Glasgow is not just about signalling greater ambitions in fighting climate change, but also about regaining credibility and making visible achievements in that fight, Hungarian President János Áder told the United Nations COP26 conference in Glasgow on Monday.
In his address, Áder said “dramatic statements” regarding the need to act on climate change had already been made at past UN conferences, and warned that “it is hard to convince the electorate that for 26 years we’ve constantly been in the eleventh hour.”
The president said climate conferences could hardly be considered successful if atmospheric CO2 concentrations were constantly rising, including since the signing of the 2015 Paris climate accord.
“The findings of science and the signs in nature make it clear that we have to act,” Áder said.
“We need ambition, so everyone says, but what should that entail?” the president said. Áder called for “an honest introspection by each country on what they have achieved”, saying that action was needed instead of “PR stunts”. He also said the countries accounting for 80 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions should agree on how to reduce emissions as quickly as possible.
Hungary accounts for just 0.13 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions but is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the president said. Also, electricity generated in Hungary will be carbon-free by 2030 at the latest, “but hopefully perhaps by 2026”, he added. The country will also increase the capacity of its solar plants to 6,500 megawatts by 2030, Áder said. New buses used in public transport will all be electric by 2030 and a new afforestation scheme is also under way, he said.
Áder noted that leaders at the G20 summit in Rome this past weekend had failed to agree on a ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants and to set a date for phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
“What I’m seeing is that this insistence on [the goal of limiting global warming to] 1.5 degrees C. makes its way into more and more international documents the further away we get from it,” he said.
Áder also said that countries whose per capita emissions significantly exceed the international average should contribute more to the costs of fighting climate change.
Áder said the Planet Budapest 2021 sustainability expo Hungary is hosting at the end of the year will showcase innovative solutions and technologies aimed at fighting climate change.
Featured photo illustration by Noémi Bruzák/MTI