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

Syria’s groundbreaking constitutional talks: ‘a clear success of mediation’ says Guterres in Turkey

10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions

“911, What’s your emergency?”

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

Climate change is forcing 20 million people a year from their homes, Oxfam says

4 ways Africa can prepare its youth for the digital economy

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

Alcohol abuse kills three million people a year, most of them men – WHO report

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

This is why mental health should be a political priority

Commission welcomes European Parliament adoption of EU4Health programme

Commission welcomes agreement on the modernisation of EU export controls

7 ways to break the fast fashion habit – and save the planet

ECB again to subsidize euro area banks with more than one trillion euro

Thomas Cook bankruptcy: Better consumer and employee protection needed

MWC 2016 LIVE: Ingenu steps up efforts to build LPWA networks across the globe

Greener tourism: Greater collaboration needed to tackle rising emissions

How digital entrepreneurs will help shape the world after the COVID-19 pandemic

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Working fewer hours makes you more efficient. Here’s the proof

COVID-19: A coordinated EU health strategy needed, say MEPs

‘BioSolar Leaves’ are better at cleaning the air than trees, say the technology’s developers

EU leaders agree to delay Brexit until 31 October

Yemen war ‘a test of our humanity’, and we’re ‘badly failing’ warns UN Children’s Fund chief

German Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

The refugee crisis seen through the eyes of a young doctor from Turkey

EU, Latin America and the Caribbean: Partnering for prosperity, democracy, resilience and global governance

Collective action to enable sustainable growth will be critical to end tropical deforestation

Adoption of new rules to better protect children caught in cross-border parental disputes

Arrest of three Libyans wanted for grave crimes ‘would send strong and necessary message’ to victims, urges top Prosecutor

State aid: Commission approves around €36 million Romanian rescue aid to state-owned flag carrier TAROM

COVID-19: from the chaos of the pandemic to the difficulties in vaccination

Ecofin: ‘The Friday battle’ for the banking union

Haiti cholera outbreak ‘stopped in its tracks’

The UK option: An overarching alternative for the whole Brexit options

Security Council gravely concerned by Ebola outbreak in DR Congo, demands immediate end to violence hampering response

Here’s how to achieve growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Civil society groups matter for Cambodia’s sustainable development: UN expert

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission welcomes political agreement on strategy for 2021-2027

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Number of MEPs to be reduced after EU elections in 2019

The challenge of palliative care in universal health coverage

The world needs carbon-neutral flying. Here’s how to bring it one step closer

Facts, not fear, will stop COVID-19 – so how should we talk about it?

Concorde is a reminder that the only way for innovation is up

Parlamentarians to “break up” with reality in the Google antitrust case

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

EU guidance on the handling of visa applications from residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions

MEPs to prioritise environment and climate action in next long-term budget

GDP growth slows in most G20 economies in third quarter of 2019

This is why retail is such a sore point in India-US trade relations

Khashoggi murder trials must public and meet international standards, UN expert urges

UN chief seeking ‘renewed commitment’ to global rules and values, as world leaders head to New York

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

A reality check on inclusive innovation

Austerity lovers to put a break on Renzi’s growth vision for Europe? the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

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