If Hungary is to have a fighting chance of countering climate change, voters must elect a new government in the April 3 general election, politicians of the united opposition said on Wednesday.
Otherwise, Hungary will be left defenseless against the climate crisis, independent lawmaker Bernadett Szél told a joint press conference, adding that the Fidesz-led government in recent years had carried out over 3,000 investment projects which had ignored green considerations.
Hungary, she said, was far too dependent on Russian gas imports, while the insulation systems of buildings remained underdeveloped. A new government would insulate 150,000 flats a year and launch social, political and professional debates on the use of nuclear energy, she said, adding that the opposition saw the expansion of Hungary’s Paks nuclear power plant as a “corruption project”. Fully 35 percent of Hungary’s energy mix should be sourced from renewable energy by 2030, she said.
Erzsébet Schmuck, co-leader of LMP, accused Fidesz of gutting Hungary’s environmental protection authorities so that they could be free to “destroy” the country’s green spaces. “What we’ve been seeing over the past years is that the prime minister vetoed the EU’s stricter climate goals while misleading Hungarian society,” Schmuck said. A new government, she said, would include an independent ministry dealing with environmental protection and climate change.
Párbeszéd’s Bence Tordai said Hungary needed cities and districts where all key services were accessible on foot or by bicycle within 15 minutes. Under a new government, public transport passes would be incorporated into Hungary’s “cafeteria” voucher system, he said, arguing that public and non-motorised transport must become a true alternative to cars. Also, special support would be given to electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles, he said, adding that rail lines would be electrified wherever possible and cycling infrastructure improved.
In the featured photo: Erzsébet Schmuck, co-leader of green LMP. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI