Hungarian president and Budapest mayor clash on climate change

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President János Áder’s Sunday interview on national radio about climate change sparked a debate between him and Budapest’s opposition mayor Gergely Karácsony.

Climate change has no political views, President Áder said on national Kossuth rádió on Sunday.

He also said that politics should not be involved in everything, and there is no such thing as right- or left-wing climate change. In fact, nature’s problems affect us all in equal measure.

The president called for political consensus and a common national agreement on the issue in order to foster a better understanding on this one topic.

He also expressed his dismay at Karácsony having had issued a climate emergency situation in the capital that was not backed by any tangible measures.

Simply declaring a climate emergency without putting actual measures behind it is nothing more than an act of political rhetoric. A true emergency situation is one where people have to be evacuated, such as a fire or a flood, the president said.

The same day, Karácsony responded on social media while sharing a link to Áder’s interview.

“This is not my first debate with Mr. President,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is also not for the first time that I have the impression that the amount of knowledge the president receives must be lacking. This is a strange approach from someone who portrays himself as the flag-bearer of green issues.”

The president’s words may have been strange to the mayor, but it is also strange how Karácsony, who covers the vast distance from his office to his service car via bicycle, has all of a sudden become a climate expert.

Karácsony said he is proud that after many years of procrastination the capital has finally joined the ranks of those declaring a climate emergency, as climate change also affects Budapest.

Sadly, we are afraid that Karácsony himself will have a much more serious impact on the capital than climate change itself.

Title image: Smokestacks (illustration)

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