Economic growth and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, the president said on Friday, arguing that climate change could also be seen as an opportunity.
Addressing a festive session of the National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT) marking its 10th anniversary, János Áder — in line with an international report on climate change — urged the creation of a new economic model which takes into consideration the economic, social and health benefits of natural capital, clean water and air and biodiversity. Further, this new model should take into account the negative consequences of the exhaustion of natural capital, he said.
If the world fails to act on the deterioration of biodiversity, it will render impossible the conditions for food production for the coming decades, Áder warned. He added that if the current level of air pollution continues, more and more people will die from respiratory diseases.
Hungarian president called for a “sustainable change” which, if implemented until 2030, would bring about more stable economic growth. The change has already started, he said, “but it is not nearly fast enough and time is running out”.
To promote sustainable economic growth, state subsidies for fossil fuels should be cut and greenhouse gas emissions reduced. As part of the development of smart cities, public transport should be boosted and a non-motoric transport network developed, he said. Furthermore, the sustainable use of land, including the protection of rainforests, the rehabilitation of overused soil and modern farming technology should be promoted, along with sustainable water management, he said.
There are several Hungarian inventions supporting sustainable economy, Áder said, citing as examples an animal feed that reduces methane formation in livestock and a sewage-water cleaning facility which was put into operation in the Netherlands recently.