Climate change program
We shared our expertise in designing the National energy strategy and the Renewable energy utilisation action plan, and also in reviewing the Action Plan for Energy Efficiency. These plans outline the amount and the source of energy to be used in Hungary in the long run. Increasing the ratio of renewable energy sources and reducing fossil energy consumption are crucial elements of the plans. Increasing energy efficiency is one of the cheapest ways of gaining more energy from the same amount of energy resources. Therefore, the efficient utilisation of the energy supply is of key importance in the process of switching to a sustainable economy.
With our partners we successfully applied for an ENRTP programme (Environment and Natural Resource Thematic Programme) on the theme of climate adaptation in the region of the Danube delta. The aims of the programme are protecting biodiversity and preparing local communities for the effects of climate change, and improving their living circumstances by preparing adequate programmes and adaptation plans. Cross-border cooperation and continuous exchange of experiences are important features in this ongoing programme.
As partners we are also participating in a CEP programme (Central Europe Programme), launching nine projects in eight countries in 2012. Initially, the projects will assess the sustainable energy potentials of the participating regions, and then draw up plans for their long-term sustainable energy utilisation and for switching from their currently fossil-based energy resources.
This year we have also continued working on our complex project which started in Tiszatarján, aiming to improve quality of life of local communities and the sustainable utilisation of the locally accessible biomass, besides the restoration of the floodplain. In 2011 we also investigated the possibilities of installing a small-range bio-solar central heating system.
Related to the presidency of Hungary of the Council of the European Union in 2011, our two most important events within the theme of climate and energy were related to the building industry energy, the sector with the most greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of both novel events was that representatives of sectors involved in architectural energy retrofitting discuss their problems and offer optimal solutions, and propose solutions for the other sectors. A demand for such forums has been confirmed at our events.
Our invitation to participate in the EU level roundtable discussion has been accepted by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy; Ecofys, the largest research institute in the topic; CECODHAS and EUROACE from the industrial sector; the European Investment Bank, the German Development Bank, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Dutch Rabobank Groen Bank B.V. and the French Banque Populaire - Caisse d'Épargne from the banking sector; and by one of the most important think-tank, the British Climate Bonds Initiative.
As continuation of this event, we have convened another roundtable with the aim of promoting cooperation among Hungarian stakeholders, since success requires a high level of cooperation among governmental intentions, financial institutions, energy suppliers and consumers, the building industry and other representatives. The summary of the discussion panels of energy suppliers, homeowners and finances is that our buildings are heavily energy inefficient: the average flat in Budapest consumes twice as much energy as a similar flat in Vienna. An evidence-based, reliable, long-term support system is required, since the stakeholders see much potential in building energy investments.
Both roundtables were side events of the Hungarian EU presidency, with expert support provided by the Ministry of National Development. Presentation materials can be found on our website. Financial support for the project was provided by ECF (European Climate Foundation).
We have launched a communication campaign with Bosch on the topic of saving energy, with the focus on modern heating. With the approach of winter, we gave useful advice on reducing heating costs and emphasised the importance of maintenance. Our short video introduced the high-efficiency condensing boiler and explained how much energy and money this may save.
Together with Ecowizer we have developed a financial plan for small and medium-sized enterprises, helping them save considerable amount of energy and therefore, money. The plan requires a low-cost investment with quick return, and guarantees ROI of a maximum of one year.
WWF Hungary partnered with Toyota in launching project Green Fleet, which aims making corporate car fleets more eco-friendly and promoting environmentally-conscious driving in general.
With the expert support from market research, this project involved polling 50 large companies in order to answer four main questions:
- In their own judgements, how much do surveyed companies take general environmental protection aspects seriously?
- In the event of acquiring new fleet, how much weight is given to the issue of environmental protection?
- How much attention is being paid to reducing petrol usage and its environmental effects in general when using their car fleet?
- How could we support them in (further) reducing the environmental effects of their fleet?
The survey showed interesting and sometimes contradicting results. For example, 62% of the polled enterprises judged climate change to be a highly important problem in environmental protection, and 62% also reported taking actions to reduce greenhouse emissions resulting from their productions. However, the survey also shows that only a third of the companies knows the exact extent of their own emissions, even though the lack of such information renders achieving results highly unlikely.
Based on these and similar problems, we have developed a three-step system in order to make driving-related emissions reducible:
1.identifying foci of attention when building corporate fleet
2.reducing emissions of the existing fleet
3.offsetting remaining emission
In partnership with the online news portal hír24.hu we have launched a series of reports on green driving which has been viewed by tens of thousands of readers. A poster and a handout were also designed to support the campaign, the latter summarised the most important tips for eco-driving.
The project continues in 2012 as well, this time focusing on small and middle-range enterprises, as well as on communication to the general public.
In line with our practice of recent years, we aimed at reporting on all main domestic and international climate events. One of the highlights was the UN climate conference which took place at the end of 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Unfortunately, a long-awaited, just and ambitious international climate agreement was not delivered at this event, either. More information on climate change can be found on our website.