European climate change objectives aim to reduce CO2
emissions, promote the spread of renewable energy sources (RES), and stimulate energy efficiency (EE). The situation of local and regional governance is crucial in the implementation of community objectives. A multi-year research project was implemented in East Hungary by the University of Debrecen and Eszterházy University. It focuses on the relevance of local communities in the formation of adequate responses to the fore-mentioned challenges. A broad range of primary data collections (questionnaires and interviews) were implemented in two rural counties of the country. The first objective was to elicit existing plans concerning RES and EE at the municipality level and to measure the rate of public participation in the elaboration of them. Secondly, the scopes of the implemented projects were examined in the target area. According to the results, local leaders seem to be committed to environmental issues, but communities rarely possess energy/climate-change plans and projects. The main motivators of project implementation are financial. Because of poor financial conditions, only EU co-financed projects are realized. As subsidies come through the national government, political factors are crucial. From a governance point of view, national and county levels are decisive, and local specialties are not taken into consideration.
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