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Tag: environment

NGOs Ask Gov’t to Set Up Separate Environmental Ministry

In an open letter, 180 non-governmental organizations have jointly requested the Prime Minister to set up an independent ministry on environmental and climate issues in the newly-forming government, according to a press release sent to Telex by WWF Hungary.

WWF’s statement points out that, in addition to dealing with challenges such as the war in Ukraine, the economic and energy crisis, and the climate emergency, the next government needs to adopt responsible policy that puts much greater emphasis on protecting the environment. [Telex]

Large Majority of Hungarians Want Renewable Energy Over Energy Dependence on Russia

More than three-fourths of Hungarians believe that the country should meet its energy needs at home and not be dependent on other countries, particularly Russian gas, according to a poll commissioned by Greenpeace and conducted by Policy Solutions and Závecz Research in the last week of March. [Telex]

In a separate poll also conducted in the last week of March, WWF Hungary conducted a nationwide, representative online survey to find out what Hungarians want from their decision-makers on environmental issues.

Their results showed that over 90% of internet users want the current government to prioritize protecting nature and the climate, and a large majority, regardless of place of residence, would like to see a separate ministry focusing on the environment to be set up. [Telex]

Is the Budapest “Sustainability Expo” just public relations greenwashing?

picture of János Áder

The first day of Planet Budapest 2021, a “sustainability expo and world meeting,” was held at Hungexpo on Tuesday, featuring a number of political speeches.

In his speech to the expo, Hungarian President János Áder, the chief patron of the event (pictured), talked about issues related to sustainability and climate change. He did not detail what actions he expected the state or specific industries to take, but he did praise the Orbán government for its environmental achievements.

The President said that carbon dioxide emissions in Hungary had decreased by 32% since 1990, which is higher than the EU average. Meanwhile, 70% of Hungary’s electricity is carbon-free, while the country’s land devoted to forests has doubled over the past 100 years, President Áder said.

Other speakers at the conference, which continues until December 5, included Polish President Andrzej Duda, OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, video messages from Slovak President Zuzana Caputová and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, plus a number of Hungarian ministers and officials, who all emphasized green-friendly themes in their speeches.

However, Greenpeace was apparently not impressed by the pomp and fancy speeches of the sustainability summit. The environmental action organization said that when János Áder stated the need for “action instead of PR stunts” at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, it could apply to the Hungarian government itself.

The Orbán government is trying to prove its commitment to the environment and nature with the Sustainability Expo, they said, while in practice it has acted in exactly the opposite manner over the past decade. The group even set up a separate informational website to call the government to account for its actions.

Greenpeace claims that shutting down the Ministry of the Environment in 2010 and gradually eliminating the independence of environmental and wildlife protection authorities have led to publicly-funded destruction of the environment at Lake Fertő.

The group lists other issues it has with Hungary’s commitment to sustainability: carbon dioxide emissions from transportation increased by 46% between 2013-2019, the government repurchased the climate-killing Mátra Power Plant for many tens of billions of forints, Hungary is far behind the rest of Europe in terms of air quality, area devoted to organic farming is far lower than in Slovakia, Slovenia, and Austria, and the government is a major sponsor of MOL’s plastics factory while promoting the steps it takes against plastic pollution.

Greenpeace campaign manager Katalin Rodics notes that the vast majority of the Hungarian population wants a truly environmentally-friendly government from 2022 onwards, acccording to the group’s research, and is looking forward to seeing environmental issues addressed in Viktor Orbán’s post-2022 platform.


Next National Consultation questionnaire to be about the environment

picture of national consultation logo

The government is planning another National Consultation survey for Hungarians, this time on the topic of protecting the environment, writes Index.

“Hungary Going Green” will be the name of the next consultation, and instead of the usual paper-based questionnaire sent in the mail, citizens will be able to answer questions on the environment online.

Green policy issues have received more attention from the government lately, but so far it has mostly been criticism of EU climate protection measures. In the next questionnaire, citizens will be able to decide on issues such as the fight against illegal landfills and the promotion of renewable energy.

Protecting the environment is a priority for the government, according to a notice from the Governmental Information Center sent by e-mail, and this initiative aims to strengthen dialogue in this area.

The notice claimed that the questionnaire will address a number of issues that fundamentally define domestic environmental policy, stating that “we can now decide together how to eliminate illegal landfills, reduce the use of plastic bottles, promote renewable energy, and determine the role green energy should play in domestic transportation.”

Hungarian President János Áder represented Hungary at the recently-concluded UN climate summit in Glasgow, where he urged action instead of just talk on the environment. However, Hungary’s Green Party, LMP, expressed extreme dissatisfaction with Hungary’s environmental efforts at the conference.