Climate Catastrophe? What’s it cost?


15540Former Deputy Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office and former Director-General of the ‘Institute for Migration Research’ Balázs Orbán writes that “Conservatives must take green politics back from the left.” What a perfect sentence! A clear example of the way Fidesz and its service staff think.
About anything, really, but this time, about climate sustainability and environment protection. “They have to take it back.” They have to take it away and own it. Everything is measured against this, they qualify everything along these lines: “mine” or someone else’s. End of.
As if environmental consciousness and concern for the fate of our planet were possible to monopolise and possess. For heaven’s sake, Deputy Minister, avoiding climate catastrophe and creating sustainability is our common human issue, not political capital that can be measured in kilograms. It is a matter of fair and responsible cooperation and action; but I see that among other things you lot are lacking in integrity and responsibility alike.
Let us take a look at the bare facts, shall we? At the June EU summit, the Orbán-government was the only one to veto the EU’s 2050 deal on climate neutrality. Fidesz argued that they would only support environmental goals if they knew in advance how much EU funding would be allocated for the modernisation of the industry. Money yet again. This really is all that matters to them. They’ll protect the environment, just let us pay them a lot first! You know, dear Fidesz people, the climate crisis cannot be stopped by fences or national consultation.
The raging storms and droughts of the future cannot be starved in the transit zone and then deported to other countries. Nor can the suffocating degrees Celsius be distributed among the Member States by quota. This is not a game, damn it! July this year was officially the hottest month ever on Earth! And you really are wondering how to “take green politics back” from left-wing political forces? You don’t have to take it back, you have to represent it! Of course, it will be really difficult if in the interim Fidesz MEPs will vote against everything in the European Parliament, which would improve environmental sustainability. Just as most recently, when we decided on a resolution to protect clean air, and Fidesz MEPs declined to stop air pollution coming from transport, agriculture and the energy sector. Which, incidentally, causes the death of at least ten thousand people every year in Hungary, indirectly. But for them, the interests of German multinationals were more important. Money, again.
And one more small but important thing for the attention of government supporters. The Orbán-government’s attitude towards our environmental public affairs is perfectly illustrated by the fact that green policy is not managed at ministerial level but only at state secretarial level. Moreover, while environmental protection is part of the agriculture portfolio, climate protection is the responsibility of one of the state secretaries of the Ministry of Innovation. By contrast, there is no other government in the Member States of the European Union, with the only exception of brexiting UK, without a separate ministry to coordinate environmental sustainability. What is more, there are two countries where, due to its complexity, several ministries share the responsibility of dealing with this issue.
Knowing the way the National Cooperation System of Orbán has worked so far, I am aware and understand that for Fidesz everything revolves around money. All that matter to them are things that make or can be turned into money. I became a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment because, also as a father of several children, I understand that preventing a climate catastrophe is indeed the most important task of our time. It is not a matter of satisfying the hunger for politically possessing this issue.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
4 August, 2019