Merkely: 5 million vaccinated would curb pandemic

Ader: Effects of climate change hit Carpathian Basin early, hard

The effects of climate change have emerged earlier and in a harsher form in the Carpathian Basin than in several other regions in Europe, President Janos Ader said on Monday at a conference.

The aim of the First National Interdisciplinary Scientific Conference on Climate Change, held online due to the coronavirus pandemic, was to discuss those effects in Hungary and the Carpathian Basin, to assess the knowledge accumulated over the past years and to start working on a national report on climate change, to be published in 2023, Ader said.

The report will attempt to provide clear answers to issues such as climate threats and emission trends, adaptation and mitigation opportunities as well as the economic, regulatory and budgetary aspects of climate change, Ader said.

Ader said one of the weighty issues was to raise public support for climate issues in Hungary in a way that motivates individuals and communities to take action rather than sink into “climate depression”.

At the same time, Ader warned that curbing the effects of climate change warranted significant change in sectors like the industry, agriculture, transport and even everyday life. “It would be foolish to deny that this will harm certain interests,” he said.

Laszlo Palkovics, the minister of innovation and technology, said in his address that climate change’s adverse effects in the Carpathian Basin can only be forestalled through cooperation. International treaties and Hungary’s commitment to climate goals provide the baseline for finding sustainable industrial solutions as well as energy efficient construction and transport models, he said.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic forced the issue of sustainable economy to take a back seat, Palkovics said. Nevertheless, Hungary had an effective year in creating a circular economy, he said. The government drafted a climate protection action plan and adopted its energy and climate strategy. The latter was also enshrined in law, Palkovics added.

Sustainability is inseparable from industry policy, and so the government has probed the development needs of the most important sectors, Palkovics said. Hungary has great development potential in energy industry, biotechnology, hydrogen technology, energy storage and innovative raw materials, he said.

Hungary will be able to fulfil its climate protection commitments only if political decision makers, economic players and private individuals all contribute, Palkovics said.

The conference runs between April 12 and 15, organised by the Hungarian Scientific Panel on Climate Change, the Hungarian arm of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Merkely: 5 million vaccinated would curb pandemic

Some 5 million Hungarians will need to be inoculated to keep coronavirus case numbers constantly low in the country, the rector of Semmelweis University said on Monday, in a podcast with President Janos Ader.

Speaking in Ader’s Blue Planet podcast, Bela Merkely said inoculation was the only surefire way to vanquish the epidemic, and called on all to accept whetever vaccine they were offered.

The first jab brings “nearly 100 percent immunity” against severe illness, while the second multiples antibodies in the blood stream, he said. Those who contracted Covid-19 before being vaccinated will need only one jab, he added.

The rector said the number of all infections in Hungary, including those who have not been registered, is estimated to be between 2-4.9 million.

Due to the extremely infectious British variant “it is only a matter of time until the whole population becomes infected,” Merkely said. The British variant also causes more severe cases, “sending a significant number of patients between 30 and 60 years of age to the ICU,” he warned.

Ader called on Hungarians to register for the vaccine and accept the vaccine they were offered. “That’s how we can win against the virus,” he said.

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