23th September 2019

Speech of President of the Republic János Áder in New York at UN Climate Action Summit 2019

Mr. President, Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

When Secretary-General Antonio Guterres convened today's meeting, he made it clear that he expected the Member States to come with tangible commitments and not empty promises. The Secretary-General's initiative is also justified by the fact that global CO2 emissions have not decreased but increased since the adoption of the Paris Agreement. So, unfortunately, we have moved further away from the target commonly agreed in 2015.

I would like to address three issues in my speech: Where does Hungary stand with climate performance? Where do we want to get to? What are we going to do about it?

Where does Hungary stand with climate performance? Since 1990 Hungary has reduced CO2 emissions by 32% and reduced energy consumption - while our economic performance has increased significantly. Hungarian GDP grew by 5% last year, with a 0.6% drop in emissions. Our per capita emissions are among the lowest in the industrialised countries. (the same for the USA is 3.5 times higher.) The 24 largest cities in Hungary have joined the most ambitious international climate zone and are members of Under2.

Where are we going? All of us gathered here in New York today would like to ensure as soon as possible that we only emit CO2 that natural sinks like vegetation, soil and water can absorb.

What is Hungary doing to achieve this goal? Hungary will increase its solar power capacity by ten times by 2030, end using coal as an energy source and expand its nuclear power plant production. The combined effect of the three measures will mean that 90% of Hungary's electricity production will be CO2 free by 2030 and not by 2050. We will improve the energy efficiency of our buildings by at least 30% by 2050. By 2030, we will use only “E” buses for public transport in each of our cities having a population of more than 25,000. We are continuing our reforestation program. In the last 100 years, the size of the forest-covered areas in Hungary has doubled. By 2050, we will increase forest coverage by 30%.

Finally, I would like to recommend to all of you our Virtual Power Plant program, which was launched 10 years ago. Its essence and philosophy are that, the cheapest energy is what we do not produce.

The most environmentally friendly energy is the one we do not use. The purpose of the program is to improve the energy efficiency of individuals, companies and public institutions.

The program has so far allowed us to save more than one-quarter of the power output of the Hungarian nuclear power plant. In other words, we did not have to generate 6% of our electricity consumption from fossil fuels.
The program has so far been implemented in Italy, Great Britain and Romania. We hope it will be as successful as it was in Hungary.

I would like to inform you that between 2019 and 2021 Hungary will support international climate funding with nearly USD 6 million, a part of which will go to the Green Climate Fund.

Secretary-General Guterres is right. The climate is not influenced by declarations, communication sparring, but only by programs executed. Hungary will continue to do its utmost in the future to achieve our shared Paris goals. If everyone does the same, then there is hope.

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