Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said preserving the Earth for future generations and meeting climate targets is contingent on making investments in nuclear energy and the electric vehicle industry.
In a panel discussion on energy affairs in Abu Dhabi on Monday, the foreign minister said Hungary’s government aims to maintain a well-balanced approach to investments in energy and environmental protection as both aspects are needed to boost competitiveness. “We never considered a green deal or green targets as political or ideological issues but ways to protect the planet for future generations,” he said. Instead of seeking to profit from political communications, the international community should prepare well-grounded, pragmatic and realistic strategies, he said. Hungary is one of fewer than twenty countries in the world that has managed in recent years to reduce harmful emissions while boosting economic growth, he said.
As part of this strategy, Hungary will become climate neutral by 2050, and by expanding nuclear and solar energy capacities, 90% of electricity production will become carbon neutral by 2030 as against the current 65%, he added. Solar energy capacity will grow from the current 4,500 megawatts to 12,000 megawatts by 2050 and nuclear energy capacity from 2,000 megawatts to 4,400 megawatts, he said.
Szijjártó warned that burden-sharing could not be called fair when countries that contribute to climate change the least suffer its consequences the most. The largest polluters should take a much greater role in cutting their emissions, he said. Some 14% of global air-polluting emissions are linked to public road transport, he said, adding that there was “no hope” of preserving Earth and climate targets without making the transition to electric vehicles, he said, adding that developed countries must work together on this. Hungary has taken great responsibility in this field as the fourth largest electric battery producer in the world, he said, adding that the country was becoming a meeting point for Eastern and Western companies in the sector.
Szijjártó said that nuclear energy was a safe and environmentally friendly method for producing energy, enabling states to become independent of the fluctuations of international markets. The project to add new reactor blocks to the Paks nuclear power station will enable carbon dioxide emissions to be reduced by 17 million tonnes and gas use by 3-3.5 billion cubic metres annually, he added. Despite all these advantages, further efforts are needed to fight discrimination against nuclear energy in the European Union, he said. Some EU member states, he added, were trying to hinder the ongoing Paks expansion project. Szijjártó said the German government’s refusal to approve an earlier approved deal for Siemens Energy to supply control technology for the Paks plant was “unfair” and “an attack against Hungary’s sovereignty”.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter