Katalin Novák's speech at the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28)
Overpopulation is not the problem. Family is not the cause but the solution of the climate crisis. The youth is not to be frightened but to be supported.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We gathered in Dubai today from all around the world because we feel responsible. Climate change is one of the few issues in which world leaders share a common understanding and are uniting their forces. Our worries and goals have been set several times. In theory we all agree. Are we also together in the implementation?
Hungary has done its homework. We have one of the world's most ambitious climate agendas. We have substantially reduced our CO2 emissions while increased economic productivity. Our renewable energy target for 2030 is estimated to be achieved by 2026. Our target for greenhouse gas emissions for 2030 is 50% of the 1990 level. Hungary is at the forefront of producing and storing green energy, and we are not giving up on the use of zero-emission nuclear energy, either.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m not here to report to you that Hungary has delivered. I would not have travelled here – leaving a carbon footprint – just for this reason. I want to address one single issue. The family.
In welfare states, we are witnessing a dramatic population decline. The correlation between GDP and fertility is clear: the higher the prosperity, the lower the fertility. The more money, the less children.
A sustainable future requires a sustainable demography. Family is not the cause but the solution of the climate crisis.
Let’s take a look at the G20 countries in 1990 and today!
The average GDP/capita is 2,5 times higher.
The average CO2-emission increased by 62%.
In the meantime, the TFR dropped by 34%, from 2,5 in 1990 to 1,7 last year. On average, there is almost one child less in the families.
What does that mean?
We have become richer and we are giving up on our future. More welfare goes hand in hand with less children and less responsibility.
Should that be the case? No.
What shall we do?
1.) Let’s not discourage the youth from childbearing. The precondition of feeling responsible for the planet is feeling responsible for the continuation of one’s life.
2.) Let’s give up the culture of fear. The youth is not to be frightened but to be supported.
3.) Let’s listen to Pope Francis and say yes to life.
As the Holy Father puts it: 'we have one problem.'
Climate crisis, poverty, equality, biodiversity, water, and the phenomenon of the demographic ice age can only be understood together. What is the point in protecting the Earth if not for our children?