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Justice minister: Effective climate policy ‘Christian, patriotic duty’

Having effective climate and green policies is a "Christian and patriotic duty", Justice Minister Judit Varga told the World Law Congress in New York on Thursday.

Speaking at the biannnual event which this year focused on the connection between sustainability and law, Varga said Hungary’s Fundamental Law made it a duty of all citizens to protect cultural and environmental assets in the interest of future generations.

At the same time, the only way to guarantee lasting solutions is through international cooperation, she said.

Rather than burdening the poorest countries, the costs of environmental protection should be borne mostly by large polluter countries and corporations, she added. Cooperation based on equality can’t lead to “certain countries being stigmatised for the measures taken to ensure their citizens’ welfare and democratic choices,” she said.

The war in Ukraine has had an effect on global energy policy in general and hit Hungary, Ukraine’s immediate neighbour, especially hard, she said. Energy prices skyrocketed in the wake of the EU sanctions on Russia, and Hungary is focusing on ensuring the country’s energy supplies and curbing the “sanctions surcharge”, she said.

Hungary’s government will not support any proposals “directly or indirectly risking our energy security or lifting energy prices above an acceptable level.”

Meanwhile, Hungary is expanding its use of sustainable and nuclear resources and diversifying natural gas procurement to curb dependence on exporting countries.

Hungary has pledged to cut its carbon emissions by 40 percent compared with 1990 levels, and to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, she noted. Hungary is 13th of the 32 countries surveyed in the Net Zero Readiness Index, she said.

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