Ada Ámon

A pioneer in promoting clean energy in Hungary, Ada Ámon is working today to bring change through an ambitious programme of building renovation.

After years as an activist trying to convince policy makers to take sustainable energy seriously, Ada Ámon is now in a position to effect change herself. As the Mayor of Budapest’s Climate Commissioner and head of the city’s newly established climate department, she is working to improve the lives of Budapest’s residents through an ambitious programme of urban building renovation and integrating large-scale renewable technology.

The programme addresses a key environmental concern: the consumption of energy in buildings – especially poorly insulated buildings – is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Ada is currently developing a financial support scheme for the proposed programme, which will save energy, reduce emissions and lower costs for residents.

Committed to change

A dedicated environmentalist since her teenage years, Ada formed a green economist circle at university out of concern that not enough economists like herself were getting involved in environmental issues. She then helped found EnergiaKlub as a young graduate, which over the last 25 years has become a leading central European energy think tank, specialising in energy efficiency, renewables and climate adaptation.

This journey was bumpy at times with many obstacles to overcome. “I was a young woman in a very male-dominated environment,” she recalls. “I faced constant challenges. I can remember being in television studios and having to debate five men, all in their 50s, about nuclear energy.” 

In 2015, she joined E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism – an independent climate change think tank as a senior associate leading the Central Eastern European climate programme.

Engaging citizens

Ada is now applying her years of energy policy and economics expertise, as well as campaigning experience, to improving the lives of Budapest’s inhabitants. To ensure communities are on board with the actions proposed by her office, she also intends to give locals a direct say in deciding which environmental measures should be implemented.

A key concern for her going forward, which will also be addressed through her building renovation programme, is air pollution as cleaner air has been shown to reduce or even prevent numerous health problems.

“The importance of air quality to people’s health has been made abundantly clear during the current pandemic,” she says. “Cutting air pollution must form the centre piece of any green recovery.”

Ada Ámon is one of 3 women recognised in the Women in Energy category of the EU Sustainable Energy Awards 2020 for their commitment to push energy efficiency into the mainstream, as well engage and empower citizens to play their part in the clean energy transition. The Awards honour outstanding individuals and projects for their innovation in the sustainable energy sector.

The Awards are part of EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), which will take place from 22-26 June 2020 under the theme: ‘Beyond the crisis: clean energy for green recovery and growth’. This year, participants will enjoy an online, interactive event experience. Highlights include a 3-day policy conference featuring a high-level opening session, the EUSEW Awards, networking activities and side events for participants as well as Energy Days, digital events taking place all over Europe. For the first time, a European Youth Energy Day will be organised on 22 June.