Hungary has made progress on greening its economy and now needs to raise its ambitions

Orban Hungary 2018

From left to right: Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister. Shoot location: Budapest – HUNGARY Shoot date: 07/02/2018 Copyright: European Union

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.

Hungary has made progress in greening its economy and cutting emissions, but it needs to speed up efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, improve energy efficiency in buildings and promote sustainable transport, according to a new OECD Review.

The OECD’s third Environmental Performance Review of Hungary says more also needs to be done to address air and water pollution. The level of exposure in Hungary to air pollution from particulate matter is among the highest of OECD countries. Nearly four in 10 people have poor quality drinking water, and almost a third of the population is not connected to public wastewater treatment facilities.

The Review says that while Hungary has strengthened its environmental laws, their implementation has been hindered by frequent institutional changes and fragmentation of national-level responsibilities following successive administrative reorganisations. It recommends making environmental goals more ambitious, stepping up the enforcement of regulations, bringing water management back under the same roof as environmental management, and regrouping staff working on compliance and inspection under one authority.

“Rising industrial activity and energy consumption are intensifying pressures on Hungary’s environment. Yet the economic rebound is an opportunity to invest more in energy efficiency and renewables, to accelerate the transition to green growth and a circular economy,” said Acting Environment Director Anthony Cox, presenting the Review in Budapest.

Fossil fuels make up around two thirds of Hungary’s energy supply. Greenhouse gas emissions have started rising again, after dropping 35% from 1990 to 2015, driven by transport and, to a lesser extent, agriculture. The level of car ownership in Hungary is growing fast from a low base, and taxes on road fuels are among the lowest in the OECD.

Residential housing is Hungary’s biggest consumer of energy, with some 80% of buildings lacking modern, efficient heating systems. The report says that introducing energy efficiency measures in new buildings could reduce related energy consumption by more than half.

The use of solid fuel, including general waste such as unwanted furniture, in household heating systems is a major source of air pollution. Emissions of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) are rising fast, and the average exposure of people in Hungary is more than twice the World Health Organisation’s guideline limits.

Hungary has made good progress on biodiversity. The conservation status of most habitats and species has improved in recent years and Hungary now protects over 22% of its land and inland waters, well above internationally agreed targets. However, as in much of Europe, pressures are still high with 62% of species in an unfavourable state. More will need to be done to reduce pressures from land use change, habitat fragmentation, pollution, invasive species and climate change.

Recommendations in the Review include:

  • Introduce more efficient and less polluting heating and cooling systems and better insulation of buildings
  • Establish a process for systematically reviewing environmentally harmful subsidies
  • Phase out heating subsidies in favour of cash transfers to poor households
  • Increase opportunities for meaningful public participation in environmental rulemaking
  • Connect more rural areas to public waste water treatment facilities
  • Implement additional incentives for municipalities to improve waste management and continue increasing the landfill tax that was frozen in 2014
  • Introduce biodiversity specific commitments and indicators for the energy, transport, tourism, industry and mining sectors

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Coronavirus crisis: “Commission will use all the tools at its disposal to make sure the European economy weathers the storm”

UN Middle East Coordinator strongly condemns ‘arrests and violence’ by Hamas security forces during Gaza protests

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

Renewal of cross-border aid operation critical to northern Syria: UN relief chief

Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

Trump stumbles badly on his Russian openings; Europeans wary of Putin

Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals

Somalia’s population, international partners must be energized to sustain country’s ‘upward trajectory,’ says senior UN official

Tackling terrorism: MEPs approve tighter rules on homemade explosives

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

The Fourth Industrial Revolution can close the digital divide. This is how

Here are 5 of the biggest threats to our oceans, and how we can solve them

EU Council agrees to reform the system for motor vehicles but with “restricted” power for the Commission

EU takes again positive action on migration crisis while Turkey asks for dear favors in exchange for cooperation

Humanitarian Aid: EU allocates €55 million in Sudan

America writes-off Iran, blocks Europe’s Tehran talks

No improvement in respect for EU values: MEPs cut support for Turkey by €70m

UN experts urge United Arab Emirates to release terminally ill woman to live her last days ‘in dignity’

White Coat, Stained red

Corruption In The Balkans Is Impeding EU Membership

Car-free day – and the other 364 days of the year

UN report on Syria conflict highlights inhumane detention of women and children

Four things Turkey did for business in the G20

The pandemic has damaged youth employment: Here’s how we can help

Hungary’s laws on helping vulnerable foreigners are ‘blatantly xenophobic’: UN rights chief

UN chief welcomes new Government in Lebanon, after eight-month impasse

European Commission secures EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19

Thoughtful blockchain implementation is key to improving supply chains in a post-COVID world

An introduction to ‘Eco-Medical Literacy’ and its importance in shaping expert medical professionals

Connectivity and collaboration in the ICT industry: the key to socio-economic development

Humanity ‘at a crossroads’ as damage to planet poses growing risk to health, UN environment agency warns

A woman would have to be born in the year 2255 to get equal pay at work

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

Tropical Cyclone Idai affects 1.5 million across Mozambique and Malawi, as UN ramps up response

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

UN calls for shipping ‘propulsion revolution’ to avoid ‘environmental disaster’

Joint UN-Congolese strategy needed to address insecurity following deadly attacks

“We have to do a better job of creating alternatives to violent extremism”, US Secretary of State John Kerry from Switzerland; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

Coronavirus: EU global response to fight the pandemic

5 ways Denmark is preparing for the future of work

How changemakers in Bangkok are popularising the circular economy

The 10 most common types of plastic choking Europe’s rivers

Switzerland: prepare for population ageing to maintain high living standards

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

UN underlines need for dialogue to resolve Israel-Palestine conflict

‘No country, no region’ can tackle global challenges alone says UN’s Mohammed

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

Assassinations in Ethiopia amidst regional ‘coup’ attempt, condemned by UN chief

Coronavirus: the truth against the myths: Lockdown by a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV

More progress needed on reducing and redesigning agricultural support policies

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Top global firms commit to tackling inequality by joining Business for Inclusive Growth coalition

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Presentation of Juncker’s Investment Plan: Can 315 billion euros save the EU?

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino died – here are more species on the verge of extinction

UN calls for funds to ease ‘deteriorating’ humanitarian situation in Gaza and West Bank

Take medical use of cannabis seriously, say MEPs

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s