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

Advertising

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

Technology is a force for peace and prosperity. Don’t let its challenges obscure this

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

WHO working to save lives following powerful earthquake in Albania

Banking Union: Non-performing loans in the EU continue to decline

Backed by UN agency, countries set to take on deadly livestock-killing disease

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

Unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Mali revealed in new report

How do we build a #sustainableworld?

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

7 steps to becoming a ‘CEO Academy’

Greece may offer to China a European gateway

The Dead Sea is drying up, and these two countries have a plan to save it

European Youth cries out: Sustainable Development Goals ambitious, but lack focus on youth

The challenge of maintaining interest in Primary Health Care in medical students

Eurozone stuck in a high risk deflation area; Draghi expects further price plunge

Africa is set to get its first vertical forest

The UN went to one of the world’s richest countries to look at poverty – this is what it found

OECD sees global growth slowing, as Europe weakens and risks persist

How to push out of our comfort zones – an extract

Burundi: Inclusive dialogue ‘only viable option’ for resolving country’s political crisis says, UN envoy

World’s Press Calls on the United Kingdom to Address Press Freedom Concerns

Scotland in United Kingdom: It’s either the end or the beginning of the end

Can Southeast Asia keep up with growing energy demand?

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Sweden is a top performer on well-being. Here’s why

JADE at European Business Summit 2015

It’s time to ‘eliminate the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence’, urges UN chief

Azerbaijan chooses Greek corridor for its natural gas flow to EU

The Chinese film boom luring Hollywood’s stars

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

Repression, use of force risk worsening Bolivia crisis: UN human rights chief

State aid: Commission approves €50 million Italian support scheme for production and supply of medical equipment and masks during Coronavirus outbreak

ECB: Growth measures even before the German elections

YO!FEST ENGAGES 8,000 YOUNG EUROPEANS IN FUTURE OF EU

End of plastic water bottles at European Parliament

How and why Mercedes fakes the EU fuel consumption tests

These dogs can smell tree disease – and could help save the world’s orange groves

Give a chance to the brothers of Ailan: reception of refugees in Greece

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

Draghi tells the Parliament the ECB to use all its weaponry; euro slides to parity with the dollar

‘Tenacious’ Kyrgyz lawyer and statelessness champion, wins prestigious UNHCR prize

Raw materials use to double by 2060 with severe environmental consequences

Energy Union: Commission calls on Member States to step up ambition in plans to implement Paris agreement

What matters most to young Europeans?

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

This Indian school accepts plastic waste instead of fees

Is this 3D-printed building the future home for astronauts on Mars?

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

Can the world take the risk of a new financial armageddon so that IMF doesn’t lose face towards Tsipras?

4 bold new ways New York is going clean and green

UN’s Bachelet addresses progress and setbacks in human rights worldwide

What business leaders can learn from jazz

COP25: Support business efforts to tackle climate change, urges Guterres

Illicit trade endangers the environment, the law and the SDGs. We need a global response

The challenges of mental health: an inconvenient reality

What is carbon offsetting?

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

Can indoor farming feed the world?

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