The Hungarian Parliament is expected to vote today (22 February) on an ambitious climate bill, putting the country alongside Scotland in the leading pack of European countries in the fight against climate change.

The bill is welcomed by Friends of the Earth Scotland, which calls on the EU as a whole to follow Scotland’s lead and increase its level of ambition in tackling climate change. The EU is currently committed to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020, going up to 30% conditional on other developed nations making commitments.

If the bill is passed it will introduce binding cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, and provide incentives for the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Hungarian government will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

Duncan McLaren, Friends of the Earth Scotland Chief Executive, said: “At a time when the world needs positive examples of climate action, we are very happy to see a European member state committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 in line with what science tells us is necessary to combat dangerous climate change. We urgently need more countries, and the EU as a whole, to follow Scotland’s example and up their level of ambition.”

The ambitious targets contained within the legislation are in stark contrast to the EU’s current inadequate pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

McLaren added: “If the EU stepped up and increased its 2020 commitment to the eminently acheivable 40% it would show the world that Europe can work together to tackle climate change. To wait in the wings for other nations demonstrates a shocking failure of ambition and lack of courage.”

Emissions reductions of 40% by 2020 is the minimum scale and speed needed from rich countries to avert a climate catastrophe and would enable the European Union to live up to its historical responsibility for causing climate change.

Research by the Stockholm Environment Institute (commissioned by Friends of the Earth Europe) shows that the EU can reduce greenhouse gas emissions domestically by at least 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and without resorting to dangerous or unproven solutions.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Per Fischer, Press Office, Friends of the Earth Scotland
T: 0131 243 2719

Notes to Editors

A study published by Friends of the Earth Europe and Stockholm Environment Institute in December 2009 showed that Europe could achieve at least 40% domestic emissions reductions by 2020 without resorting to measures like agrofuels, nuclear power or carbon capture and storage.

Friends of the Earth Scotland exists to help people in Scotland look after the planet for everyone’s future. We think globally and act locally in Scotland, delivering solutions to climate change by enabling and empowering people to take both individual and collective action. We offer help to people with the big things in life – helping to sustain a healthy society and environment. We believe that all of our children’s futures will be better because of what we do. www.foe-scotland.org.uk