President János Áder discussed climate and consumer-friendly energy production with Attila Chikán Jr, the CEO of energy services company Alteo and head of the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary.
In his podcast dubbed Blue Planet (Kék Bolygó) Áder noted the European Union’s pledge to become climate neutral by 2050. Hungary emitted 68 million tonnes of carbon dioxide on 2018, and aims to reduce that to 7 million tonnes, he said. Chikán said those goals must be achieved in the interest of future generations. If large emitters don’t change course, quality of life will deteriorate in desert and equatorial areas so much that the people there “will have to flee their countries”, he warned. Other countries could be swallowed by rising seas, he added. Another goal Hungary has pledged to achieve is to raise the ratio of wooded areas to 30% from 21%, Áder noted. Chikán said expanding forests and increasing biodiversity were the primary tools to influence the planet’s climate. He said “we had to be extremely careful” with geoengineering, an emerging scientific trend currently in experimental stage which looks at dispersing particles in the atmosphere to influence climate. Regarding energy production, Chikán said the industry has to satisfy requirements in climate protection while ensuring reliable supplies and being cost-effective.
Chikán also noted that long-term storage of electric energy was difficult or needed very costly technology. Natural gas will have a role in Hungarian electric energy production in the foreseeable future, partly due to the country’s environmental setup, Chikán said. At the same time, power plants using natural gas can easily adapt to demand and curb production accordingly, he said. Nuclear plants are essential in preventing the increase of carbon emissions, Chikán added.