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SOER Country

Climate change mitigation (Hungary)

Why should we care about this issue

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

According to regional downscaling of global climate change models, the whole Carpathian Basin and especially Hungary is more sensitive to global temperature rise than the average by a factor of 1.4. This means that 1 degree Celsius global warming should result in 1.4 degree warming in the middle of Europe.

Another study (Confronting Climate Change, UN expert group on CC, 2006) has warned that, from the point of view of ecological vulnerability, Hungary is one of the most endangered countries in Europe, having several plant and animal species challenged by environmental change.

The consequences of climate change (e.g. gradual temperature rise, decrease of annual precipitation, growing prevalence of extremes in meteorological and hydro-meteorological phenomena) manifest themselves in ecosystems (for example in terms of changing habitat conditions) as well as in infrastructure, human activities and health (e.g. frequency of heat waves).

Although to different degrees, the increasing effects of climate change will affect the entire territory of Hungary at almost all levels, all citizens and all areas of society.

The key drivers and pressures

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 08 Apr 2011

The economic restructuring of the 1990s played an important role in reducing domestic emissions of greenhouse gases. Since then, there has been no significant change in total emissions.

In 2007, total emissions of greenhouse gases in Hungary were 75.9 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents. This is 5 % below the ten-year average of the quite stable period of 1996-2005. Taking into account also the mostly carbon-absorbing processes in the Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, the net emissions of Hungary were 71.8 million tonnes CO2 eq.


GHG emissions (million tons CO2 eq. Gg)


GHG emissions








Total (including LULUCF)








Total (excluding LULUCF)








Source: National Inventory Report, Hungarian Meteorological Service

In 2007, the energy sector (including energy industries, fugitive emissions from fuels as well as the transport sector) accounted for 75 % of total GHG emissions and agriculture was the second-largest emitting sector with 13 %. Industrial processes contributed 7 % to emissions, while the waste sector (including solid waste and wastewater treatment - with the former showing an increasing tendency) represented 5 % of total emissions.

Emission trends by sector

The energy sector plays a key role in emissions in Hungary, since the significant part of energy consumption is covered by fossil energy sources, over 75 % of which is imported - a fact that is disadvantageous from the aspect of both climate change mitigation and energy security. Renewable energy production accounted for just 4.9 % of total energy use.

In the last two decades, total energy consumption has been decoupled from economic growth whereas - after almost two decades of decreasing or stagnating tendencies - in the last few years both electricity and total energy consumption have reached higher levels again.


blue curve: electrical energy consumption, red: total energy, yellow: GDP



Volume indices of GDP and GHG Emissions (1990-2006)

Source: National Inventory Report, Hungarian Meteorological Service


Similar to global trends, transport is the most dynamically increasing category within the energy sector both in terms of energy consumption and its negative impacts on climate change.
The share of the transport sector within total GHG emissions rose from 6.44 % to 16.2 % between 1985 and 2005. Its share in the final energy consumption amounts to 21 %, with road transportation being the most significant emitter.

Due to technical developments (changes in the fuel mix, etc.), specific CO2 emissions have been reduced significantly, but this decrease is being overcompensated by the rising number of cars and vehicle-kms, and a significant growth is expected in the emissions of the sector. The shift from climate-friendly transportation towards more emission-intensive ones (from public to individual transport, from railway to road transportation) is an unfavourable trend to be dealt with.

The industrial restructuring completed at the beginning of 1990s has resulted in notable decreases in energy use and in emissions, but no similar change is expected in the medium term. Current energy consumption by industry accounts for one-third of the total direct energy consumption, showing slight fluctuations in the past few years.

Agriculture is the second-largest emitting sector in Hungary: intensive agricultural production plays an important part in emissions because of the high CH4 and N2O emissions from animal husbandry and plant production..

However, the LULUCF result in sinking almost 6 % of the total emissions and 8 % of the total CO2 emissions. Forests sequestrate approx. 4–5 million tonnes of CO2 a year.

More detailed information on the state and impacts is available here:

The 2020 outlook

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Hungary committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 6 %. As of 2008, the emissions were 34 % lower than in the base year (average of 1985-87).

In order to achieve the EU-level targets, a new Energy Policy Concept has been adopted by the Hungarian Parliament which has set the aim of increasing the share of renewables to 14.9-15.9 %. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan aims to improve energy efficiency by 1 % annually between 2008 and 2016.

The National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) provides a comprehensive framework for all targets and actions with respect to reducing GHG emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change. According to the long‑term (2050) vision of the NCCS:

  • As a result of energy efficiency improvements and energy savings, Hungary’s current electricity consumption rate will be reduced by 70 %, and only 5 % of the current heat consumption will be required to ensure pipelined hot water supply and the operation of other industrial processes.
  • Almost 40 % of the stock of dwellings will be operated without any greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions from buildings without passive energy systems will also be decreased by 75 % as a result of modernisations carried out to reduce energy consumption.
  • By transforming the transport policy, non-motorised forms and public transport will have priority. In addition, motorised vehicles will be modified and will be characterised by lower specific consumption rates which will result in drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and vehicles with innovative technologies will come into general use in both private and public transport.
  • Industrial GHG emissions will also decrease significantly as a result of the lower energy needs and lower specific raw-material consumption rates.
  • In agriculture, integrated and ecological farming with low chemical uses will become predominant. Through the implementation of the National Afforestation Programme, Hungary's forest coverage will increase to 27.4 %.


Existing and planned responses

Published: 26 Nov 2010 Modified: 23 Nov 2010

The National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) was prepared pursuant to Act No. 60 in 2007 on the framework for the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and of the Kyoto Protocol. In accordance with national commitments, the NCCS was elaborated for the first time for the period of 2008-2025.

Among the NCCS priorities we find:

  • Full compliance with international obligations
  • Social dialogue, change of attitudes in order to fight against the driving forces of climate change
  • Effective and efficient emission reduction particularly in the energy sector, industry, transport, agriculture and waste management
  • Adaptation to climate change.

Primarily, the NCCS makes an inventory of the effects exerted on the natural flora and fauna, the human environment, as well as on human health, water management, agriculture, forest management and the built environment.


The objectives of the National Climate Change Strategy will be implemented by National Climate Change Programmes (NCCPs) to be prepared on a biannual basis.

A large-scale scientific study under the title VAHAVA (in English CHER, from the first letters of the words CHange, Effect, Response) served as basis for the NCCP. The underlying study was financed by the Ministry of Environment and Water and carried out by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, with the participation of around 200 experts. The study covered all fields and sectors, in order to identify possible mitigation and adaptation measures. Among others, agriculture, field cultivation, forestry, fruit gardening, animal stock-raising, human health, freshwater management and flood protection, built environment and rural development, building sector and architecture, and national security were analysed in the study. Its considerations serve as guidelines for the elaboration of both the sectoral and horizontal tasks.

Thus, various other national strategies and programmes involve short and medium-term emission reduction targets and actions (for instance Energy Policy Concept, Hungarian Energy Efficiency Action Programme, National Renewable Energy Strategy, Transport Policy)

The Hungarian GIS (Green Investment Scheme), financed by the revenues from international emissions trading brought about by the Kyoto Protocol, furthers mitigation actions against climate change. First, tenders were announced for buildings made by industrialised technologies (Panel programme) in 2009, then for existing conventional buildings, later on for low-energy consumption buildings ('eco', or passive houses). In the long term, investments and technology improvements are to be made for energy production, transport and conversion (district heating systems).


With the help of national and EU funds, significant improvements have been made in several fields:

  • Improving energy efficiency
  • Extending the share of renewables
  • Enhancing the infrastructure of combined carriage, investing into the attractive means of public transport and into non-motorised forms of transportation
  • Initiating agricultural environmental management
  • Incentives to increase the forest area, to maintain existing forests, and to encourage close-to-natural management and protection of forests
  • Better waste and wastewater management.


The household and institutions sector still have significant emission mitigation potential given that households have been less affected by prior emission mitigation measures and this sector is responsible for about one-third of the total emissions.

Basically, the activities directed at mitigating the emissions should be implemented in an order reflecting their cost efficiency. The application of this principle will ensure reaching the highest rate of emission mitigation on a given cost level.


Regarding adaptation to climate change, the following fields are in the focus of present and future actions:

  • Biodiversity protection (e.g. habitat reconstruction, habitat enhancement)
  • Developments in urban rainwater and inland water management, increasing flood risk management and flood protection
  • Accelerating plant improvement and selecting the most appropriate variety range based on adaptation capacity studies, increasing the mosaic-like character of the landscape
  • Adopting forest fire prevention measures, preventing damage to ecological network
  • Integrating sustainability aspects into urban planning

The efficiency of the group of measures listed above can be boosted by horizontal activities (e.g. education, and research and development).


For details see the following websites:


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.

European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100