Hungary Hungary

Hungary ranks 49th in this year´s CCPI, up four spots but among the low-performing countries.

It receives a low in the Renewable Energies and Energy Use categories, a medium in GHG Emissions, and a very low in Climate Policy.

Hungary updated its National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) in September 2023. This shows raised ambitions, as the plan includes a 50% emissions reduction by 2030, vs. 40% in the previous NECP. While the CCPI country experts highlight the country’s potential through the new target, they note that it falls short of the EU’s target of −55% or more. Hungary’s government has also regularly tried to undermine EU climate action.

No steps towards gas and oil phase-out

The revised NECP indicates 55% of renewable energy in 2030 will be ‘bio’ – biogas, biofuels, and the vast majority from biomass, mainly from wood. The experts criticise wood’s classification as a renewable energy source. The main issue is that no policy is in place that could ensure an upper limit of biomass use to reach the 2030 land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) target and increase the natural sink further to reach the 2050 climate neutrality target. Burning wood (especially in households) emits a huge amount of black carbon (BC), heightening pollution levels. BC is also a key climate pollutant. Logging is allowed even in protected areas, such as natural parks and other areas important for biodiversity. This has a negative impact, as it disturbs the soil and water balance, affecting the agricultural sector.

Another problem the experts mention is the widespread burning of waste by households, which produces up to 40 times more BC than wood burning (per unit of mass burned) and extremely toxic fumes.

Regarding gas and oil use, no steps forward can be observed, as one coal power plant (which is responsible for 14% of Hungary’s CO2 emissions) is planned to be decommissioned by 2030. And this will only take place if two newly planned gas power plants start operating.

The experts unanimously criticise that current legislation doesn’t allow wind turbine installation. A restriction on grid access for solar energy also hinders expansion of this form of renewable energy. The experts say the accounting of waste incineration in power plants as renewable energy should be changed. On the whole, the experts want Hungary to increase its renewable energy production.

No meaningful programme for household decarbonisation

In energy efficiency in the building sector, new standards have been postponed several times and are still not in force. The experts report there is no meaningful programme for household decarbonisation, and the government has continued to support construction of new homes with no energy efficiency requirements.

While the revised NECP foresees a 43% reduction in transport energy consumption by 2050, it also predicts significantly increased automobile and truck use. Local governments (especially in Budapest) are struggling to maintain public transport services as the national government has reduced financial support. The government closed 10 secondary railway lines in 2023, despite protests from local communities and NGOs.

On a positive note, an air ticket tax was introduced (though it’s rather modest) and reconstruction of some major railway lines and replacement of old rolling stock has continued.

The country experts also condemn political discrimination against environmental NGOs and independent media in Hungary. A lack of transparency of key information also hampers their work.

Key Outcomes

  • Hungary ranks 49th in this year´s CCPI, up four spots but among the low-performing countries
  • Hungary updated its National Energy and Climate Plan in September 2023
  • Key demands: New standards for energy efficiency in the building sector, phase-out of fossil fuels and more support for renewable energy projects

CCPI experts

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI:

Key Indicators

CCPI 2024: Target comparison