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 Milestone

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

Action needed to tackle stalled social mobility

How global tech companies can champion ethical AI

Why the world needs systems leadership, not selfish leadership

Europe’s moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation

Statement by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, on the announcement to postpone the COP26

EU-U.S. trade talks – one year on, Commission presents progress report

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: updates from the Near East and Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, World War remembrance

Guterres calls for ‘maximum restraint’ following drone assault on key Saudi oil facility

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

Meet Alice, the battery-powered plane that could herald the age of electric air travel

Technology companies have power. They must assume responsibility

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

COVID-19 not yet a pandemic, says UN health agency chief

How revealing the cost of coal makes us all better off

The global economy is woefully unprepared for biological threats. This is what we need to do

France and Poland to block David Cameron’s plans on immigration

Is the ECB ready to flood Eurozone with freshly printed money?

How the EU crisis hit countries saved the German and French mega-banks from bankruptcy and still pay the costs

Eurozone’s central bank leadership prepares for shoddier prospects

Sudzha gas metering station at Russian-Ukrainian border (Copyright: Gazprom, 2015 / Gazprom’s website, Media)

Gazprom starts suspending gas contracts with Ukraine as Brussels fears limited transit to Europe

Spain locks down, Denmark shuts borders – today’s COVID-19 updates and expert analysis

The West cannot ignore Russia; dazed Germany sitting on the fence

European Commission and four online marketplaces sign a Product Safety Pledge to remove dangerous products

Deep fakes could threaten democracy. What are they and what can be done?

As urbanisation grows, cities unveil sustainable development solutions on World Day

Five ways to increase trust in e-commerce

UN chief condemns terror attack in Kismayo, Somalia

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

The good news on pensions: sustainable equals profitable

EU Visa Policy: Commission welcomes agreement to strengthen EU visa rules

Better sanitation for India is in the pipeline

Migration crisis update: Greece could probably say goodbye to Schengen really soon

10 expert predictions for the next decade in Chinese AI

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

Deutsche Bank again in the middle of the US-EU economic skirmishes

Handwashing is saving lives – but for too many people, it remains a luxury

It’s a lie Eurozone isn’t competitive

State aid: Commission approves €400 million of public support for very high-speed networks in Spain

Can North Korea and the U.S. strike a nuclear deal?

Great Reset: Why LGBT+ inclusion is the secret to cities’ post-pandemic success

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

Half of the world’s population lack access to essential health services – are we doing enough?

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

Draghi reserved about Eurozone’s growth prospects

Ferry capsizes near Mosul, UN chief offers solidarity, support ‘as needed’

The European brain drain and the deteriorating medical workforce

Foreign Investment Screening: new European framework to enter into force in April 2019

Timor-Leste Foreign Minister highlights value of UN in resolving conflicts

Human Rights Day celebrates ‘tremendous activism’ of the world’s young people

What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain

Data protection: Commission decides to refer Greece and Spain to the Court for not transposing EU law

Investing in working conditions and quality jobs

The 28 EU leaders unable to start a relevant debate on migration and Brexit

Why sustainable manufacturing makes economic as well as ethical sense

This forgotten element could be the key to our green energy future. Here’s why

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

Wages are flatlining around the world – is automation to blame?

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

Can collective action cure what’s ailing our food systems?

More Stings?

Advertising

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