Get to know Kata Tüttő, Jury Member for Roger Léron Awards

During the interview with Kata Tüttő a broad spectrum of topics are addressed, from the necessity to have a social approach to energy poverty to how she foresees the future of energy mobility in Budapest… Her interview will not leave you indifferent.

Kata Tüttő is an economist and a local councillor at Budapest district XII. For 12 years elected member of the City Assembly of Budapest, former chair of the Financial and Public Procurement Commission. Also, for this time she has been Alternate member of the European Committe of the Regions. During this time she has always defended the relevance on targeting energy poverty as a source of social inequity. Kata is Rapporteur of the Opinion on the Future of the Covenant of Mayors, Waste to Energy in a Circular Economy and Energy poverty. In addition to her participation as Board member of Budapest Transport Company (BKV). Furthermore, Kata is one of the Juries for this year’s edition of the Roger Léron Award.

As it is visible in this short extract, Kata is a very active person and in spite of her tight agenda, and in addition to her active role in social media as a defender of human rights, she accepted to answer to some questions related with energy poverty, energy mobility and the keys to succeed in this field.

  • Nowadays, 54 million Europeans still suffer from energy poverty. What do you think are the main challenges to reduce energy poverty in European cities?

The three main factors of energy poverty are low income, high energy prices, and damp, uninsulated homes. Cities need to invest more in healthy, energy efficient, affordable housing and help their residents to become energy prosumers, to produce and even sell their own energy. Much local decision maker still doesn’t understand that energy poverty is not just a social issue, so we too often see examples like  ‘social wood’ programs and looking at another direction when families burn waste, because of no other option, to heat their homes, or to cook a meal. Nobody should have to choose between eating or heating.

  • The reform of urban mobility systems is one of the biggest challenges confronting policymakers, stakeholders and users, although, it is key for guaranteeing climate adaptation and energy efficiency. How is, in your opinion, the performance of the city of Budapest in investing in the public transportation system to adapt to a more sustainable approach?

Public transport is strength in Budapest, it has a wide, well-connected network with firm infrastructure in trams and metro and has one of the best modal split in Europe: 65% use public transport, cycle or walk to work. Our aim is to increase that rate to 80% in the next decade by making public transport in Budapest more affordable, comfortable and environmentally sustainable with more connections and biking infrastructure, attractive vehicles: comfortable and environmentally friendly, better services reflecting citizens needs and integrated regional transport governance.

  • You have proved to be an inspiring person to many individuals in order to promote and implement new innovative measures related to sustainability, social equality, and cities. As you know, in this year’s edition of the Roger Léron Award, leadership is an award criterion in order to determine the final winner. In your opinion, what are the main virtues that a leader in sustainable energy should have?

One of the best examples I’ve learned in the past years came from a local waste management study. The big question was that is it possible to leap from high waste landfilling rates to under 10% without building a waste incinerator? Yes, it is possible. The story of Contarina, an Italian public waste management company, proved that in 15 years it is possible to leap from 27% separate collection to 85%, with a nearby future goal of 96% recycled waste. The main virtues I found is strong dedication, a political will to continuously improve the system, actively involve citizens and most important of all sharing their story, their experiences with others.

  • This year, 2019, marked a year of fundamental changes in public and political awareness for climate change and sustainability. The IPCC report, the youth climate marches and the rise of young activists and NGOs demanding social justice, closely linked with environmental responsibility. What is your advice for actors in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency to help them make their best in the current scenario?

I really believe in the active engagement of citizens, every age and social group, breaking down the climate crisis into digestible and manageable bricks, so everyone can connect to it. It is not that refusing straws, recycling waste, eating less meat is enough to stop the crisis, BUT if we directly engage most of society, then in the future no political leader wanting an office can deny the urgent necessity of a just climate and energy transition

 

It is amusing to follow up how Kata works to drive the field of energy efficiency towards a more social approach. We are sure that she will take into account these features at the time to appoint for the winner of the Roger Léron Award 2019 as Jury Member.