Climate concerns still on public's mind during pandemic, survey says

EU Court: Hungary not in line with EU air quality laws

Hungary has breached EU air quality rules by failing to comply with the daily limit for particulates in the air and for overstepping the duration for exceeding these limits, the European Court of Justice (CJEU) said on Wednesday.

The European Commission launched an infringement proceeding against Hungary for failing to address these shortcomings promptly.

The court agreed that air quality was consistently unacceptable in the zones in question, namely in Budapest and the Sajo Valley, as well as in the vicinity of Pecs, in southern Hungary, for six and eight years, respectively.

The CJEU stated that Hungary has already passed plans and measures to improve air quality. However, those steps failed to outline the degree of the planned improvement, nor did they set deadlines by which Hungary would comply with air quality regulations, the court said. They also failed to set a date by which the particulate ratio in the most polluted zones would fall below the set limits, the court said.

Hungary also dragged its feet on passing the measures, which prevented air quality from returning to normal as soon as possible, the court said.

Climate concerns still on public’s mind during pandemic

Concerns over the impact of climate change have not waned in spite of the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic in Hungary, according to a survey by economic research institute Szazadveg and the Climate Policy Institute.

The survey found that the overwhelming majority of Hungarians is concerned by climate change, the institute said in a statement, adding that 90 percent of respondents found the issue worrying.

Altogether 72 percent of respondents said their interest in climate change had not waned despite the pandemic, with 17 percent saying their interest in it had risen.

Fully 77 percent said they did not believe global warming and the pandemic were related, as against 16 percent who said they were.

A total of 82 percent of respondents said climate change was already having an impact on the everyday lives of Hungarians. An even bigger majority, 94 percent, said that unless the situation changes, it would also make things more difficult for future generations.

The survey found that middle-aged economically active people are less concerned about climate change than young people and the elderly. It also revealed that rural residents with lower incomes who are likely to have a more first-hand experience of the effects of climate change on agriculture were the most concerned about its impact.

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