Hungary’s President Urges Quick Start to UN Climate Target Talks

  • Bringing forward emission cuts will ease future costs
  • Tighter targets by biggest emitters may encourage others

Hungary’s president is calling for the early implementation of elements of the Paris climate treaty as global temperatures in 2016 are set to be the hottest on record.

Janos Ader wants the 10 biggest emitting nations to begin tightening their emission-reduction targets as much as a year before a 2018 deadline, bringing forward the impact of the United Nations agreement signed in December, according to Csaba Korosi, the head of the president’s Directorate of Environmental Sustainability.

Making emission limits more ambitious would help the world’s economies overhaul energy and industrial policies at a more even pace under the deal, which aims to limit the increase in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels, the envoy said. Fifteen of the hottest 16 years ever measured have come in the 21st century. In Hungary, a record five heat waves last year slashed grain production.

“Every day and every month counts,” Korosi said by phone. “The Paris deal can be ratified as early as this year. We have this window of opportunity to move things forward by two to three years, but that window will quickly close.”

Hungary’s National Development Ministry press office didn’t say whether the nation’s government was in favor of an early start to the Paris agreement. The country plans to get about 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, compared with a 13 percent target handed out by European Union lawmakers, it said by e-mail. President Ader’s post is largely ceremonial and he doesn’t set policy.

Hungary has cut its emissions from energy by 39 percent since 1990, according to data from BP Plc.

The Paris deal calls on the world’s nations to “take stock” in 2018 of their collective efforts, or ambition, to cut emissions, then revisit those levels every five years.

The top-10 emitting nations could take on more ambition even before 2018, spurring other countries to follow, Korosi said. The EU has said it may step up its planned 40 percent cut in greenhouse gases by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Hungary’s call comes as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon this week invited leaders from all countries to a Sept. 21 meeting in New York aimed at speeding up ratification of the Paris treaty.

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