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Palkovics: Hungary ‘performing well’ in fight against climate change

Hungary is "performing well" in its efforts to fight climate change, Laszlo Palkovics, the minister of technology and industry, told a sustainability conference on Tuesday.

Citing a recent study, Palkovics said Hungary ranked 13th out of 32 countries in terms of measures to reduce CO2 emissions. Hungary has reduced its carbon emissions by 34 percent since 1990, the minister said, adding that decarbonising the energy sector had been crucial in those endeavours.

Referring to new challenges such as droughts, rising temperatures and emerging pests, the minister said that the government had to define new tasks in agriculture, water management and health care.

Noting Hungary’s energy vulnerabilities, Palkovics said gas provided 35-40 percent of the country’s energy needs. The challenge, he added, was to reduce the proportion of gas heating in homes and public institutions. The government is working to “reduce and eventually eliminate” Hungary’s dependence on Russian gas, he said.

Strategically, the government wants to reduce gas in the country’s energy mix, increase alternative energies, as well as to increase flexibility in meeting increasing demand for electricity, Palkovics said. Hungary’s gas consumption could be significantly reduced before 2030 through comprehensive measures, he said, but warned that this required significant electrification.

Concerning the country’s commitment to net zero by 2050, Palkovics said the programme required investments totalling 16 billion euros, mostly through restructuring the electricity grid, adding that “details are being worked out”.

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