Hungary                                                 By Brigitta Bozso (Energia Klub, Hungary)


Basic information





Mt CO2



Mt CO2



2007 %



year  %

Kyoto target



















No target




GDP Growth



GDP Growth



GDP Growth (est.) %

Gross Inland Energy Consumption Change

Feb.2009/ Feb.2008     %








Source: EEA Report No. 5/2007


By far, the biggest GHG-emitting sector was the Energy sector, contributing 76% to Hungary’s total GHG emissions in 2006. Carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is the largest item among greenhouse gas emissions. Its contribution is 94.5% to sectoral emission, followed by CH4 with 4.1% and by N2O with 1.4%, in 2006. Among fuels, gases have the highest proportion (47.0%), liquids have less, and solids have the lowest, but the latter still represents 22.2% of the sectoral CO2 emissions. Due to the changes in the fuel structure in the '90s, the most important source in the base years, solid fuel, has been displaced by natural gas, decreasing the total emissions. The most important subsector of the energy sector is “Energy Industries”, which accounts for 32.3%, followed by “Other Sectors”, which represents 28.1% of the total emissions in this sector. “Fugitive Emissions from Fuels” plays only a small role in emissions of the sector with 3.6%. The most dynamically increasing category is that of Transport, which has 4% higher total emissions in 2006 compared to 2005. 


In 2006, Agriculture was the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Hungary. It accounted for 10.7 percent of total emissions. The contribution of agriculture to total emissions decreased over the period 1985-2006 from 15.0% to its present share. Emissions from Agriculture include CH4 and N2O gases. Most of the total N2O emissions are generated in agriculture; it amounts to 68.74 percent of total N2O. The total emissions from agriculture decreased over the period 1985-2006. The bulk of this decrease occurred in the years between 1985 and 1995, during which the agricultural production underwent a drastic decrease. The trend in emissions fluctuates slightly between 1996 and 2006.


The LULUCF sector was a net sink of carbon in most of the years and a net source of emissions in 2000. This result is determined largely by Forest Land, which is a major carbon sink. The Cropland living biomass is usually a net sink of carbon but can be a net source of emissions in some years due to reduction of orchard and vineyard areas. The soil disturbance generates steadily decreasing removals of CO2, as a consequence of reduction of agricultural land and afforestation of croplands. The complex dynamics of the land use and land-use changes lead to fluctuating trends in the LULUCF sector. In 2006, the net removal was 5.9 million tonnes.[1]


The development of the latest GHG emissions in Hungary

GHG emissions have more or less stabilized since 1992, with small fluctuations resulting from effects of? LULUCF as sinks.  In 2006, total emission of greenhouse gases in Hungary amounted to 78.6 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents, excluding the LULUCF sector. With less than 8 tonnes, the Hungarian per-capita emissions are below the European average. By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Hungary committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 6%. Now, our emissions are 32% lower than in the base year (average of 1985-87). However, this significant reduction is a consequence of the regime change in Hungary (1989-90) which brought in its train radical decline in the output of the national economy.  Production decreased in almost every economic sector including GHG-relevant energy, industry and agriculture. Emissions decreased by 2% (-1.6 million tonnes) between 2005 and 2006. However, there is no significant trend in the emissions of the last 10 years; they fluctuate around 79 million tonnes. Nevertheless, the reduction between 2005 and 2006 is mainly due to processes in the energy sector (-1.3 million tonnes):

  • In the heating period, the daily mean temperature was 0,74 oC higher than in the previous year, so the energy demand of heating decreased by roughly 4%. The natural-gas consumption in the residential category decreased by 7%. At the same time, the fossil-fuel input of electricity generation slightly increased.
  • The fossil-fuel needs of the chemical industry decreased, despite the increase in the use of petroleum products for non-energy purposes.
  • In contrast with the above trends, the emissions in the transport sector grew by 4%.


Emissions from industrial processes decreased by 6% (-0.4 million tonnes). The growth in the building industry sector could not offset emission reduction due to decreased production and modernization in the chemical industry. By closing down the aluminum production, the emissions in the metal industry category were halved. The most important greenhouse gas by far is carbon dioxide, accounting for 77% of total GHG emissions. The main source of CO2 emissions is burning of fossil fuels for energy purposes, including transport. CO2 emissions decreased by 30% since the middle of the 80’s. Methane represents 10% in the GHG inventory. Methane is generated mainly in waste disposal sites and animal farms, but the fugitive emissions of natural gas are also an important source. CH4 emissions are 24% lower than in the base year. Nitrous oxide contributes 12% to the total GHG emissions. Its main sources are the agricultural soils and the chemical industry. The N2O emissions were halved in the years of political and economic changes. The total emissions of fluorinated gases amount to 1%. However, they are growing, due especially to their applications in the cooling industry. [2]


Expectations of GDP growth and GHG emission growth in the future? 


GDP development and total energy consumption in Hungary since 1985.


With the transport sector being the most intensively growing sector, significant growth is not expected in emissions. As we can see from the graph, GDP is growing at faster rate than total energy consumption. With effective energy-efficiency measures in place (which we hope to see introduced in the coming years) the latter trend can be turned round and GDP growth can be decoupled from energy consumption (which will result in declining emissions). Hungary is launching GIS late in 2008 that will have a positive effect on efficiency investments and projects. This could result in significant emission reduction in the affected sectors. Unfortunately, road transportation has become the preferred transportation mode and will continue to be so in the next couple of years thanks to the unbalanced development policies.


Public attitude


The Hungarian public is quite concerned about CC even compared to the European average. This is mainly thanks to some extreme weather events that were reported and interpreted as results of climate change. Hungary is a traditionally agricultural country, and because of that, adaptation is considered as a critical issue in this field.  A domestic public opinion survey commissioned by 3 Hungarian environmental NGOs was completed in 2008. The survey brought very similar results to the Eurobarometer report. Most interesting results of this survey are, that however concerned people are about climate change, they are not aware of its indirect and longer-term impacts (when people had to select possible negative impacts of climate change from a list, there was only 1 indirect impact in the first 6 and the last 3 were increasing social differences, wars and conflicts, climate refugees).[3] The public discussion and debates are mostly about extreme weather conditions and adaptation to those, mainly floods, droughts, summer heat waves and heavy storms. People do not link climate change to human impact and their everyday activities. There is still some debate about man-induced CC or not but it is minor; the causes (greenhouse gas emission) are mainly accepted.  The hottest debate is still about growing energy prices. Unfortunately energy policy and climate policy are not linked and harmonized to each other; neither in the political field, nor in the public eye. Without appropriate energy policy, public attention focuses on energy prices, energy supply, security, and allocation of state support and subventions for energy consumption. The system is currently very chaotic and controversial.


  • Is the public concerned about changing weather or is there interest in UN CC policies?

The public is mainly concerned about weather impacts. UN policies are not really followed. Kyoto protocol is known, but details are not known – ways to reach Kyoto targets are not clear. Thanks to the growing media attention in the past couple of years, these subjects are in the mainstream news during related events and the trends are promising. The 2007 IPCC Nobel Prize (Hungarian scientists contributing) and the Budapest seminar got quite a big media attention, but the detailed findings of the IPCC 4AR are not known.


  • Does the public consider weather extremes (droughts, floods) as the result of human caused CC?

The explanation is there in the media, but on a very superficial level. There is a theoretical link, but people do not connect this theory to their daily choices and lifestyles. The feeling is that humans are rather victims of climate change than causes of it.


  • What share of population is considering global warming as beneficial for Hungary?

The earlier mentioned public opinion survey[4] shows the impacts of climate change will be according to the public (in order of importance): desertification/droughts, disappearing seasonality in weather, natural disasters, more frequent extreme weather events, melting of icecaps and snow – so people all see the negative consequences. There are practically no such things as views that climate change will be beneficial for Hungary, or even if such theories exist, they are marginal, not visible to the general public. According to another survey[5], only 1 % thinks that climate change will not have any negative impacts.


  • Does the public know about Kyoto and its implications for Hungary?

Kyoto Protocol is known, and people connect the term with climate protection, but the public does not have much information or interest in concrete targets and details. The communication of the government has been quite positive about Kyoto and Hungary doing well on achieving Kyoto targets, even overachieving. This creates a sense of passivity.


  • Would the general public be willing to make sacrifices voluntarily for GHG emissions?

Most people easily take up some no-cost or low-cost measures (like efficient light bulbs to cut their energy consumption, separating waste, using public transport). These are the most popular measures, since they are economically beneficial as well. As the initial investment rises, the willingness to sacrifice reduces.


  • What is the public attitude towards US rejection of Kyoto?

There is not much public debate on this subject.


  • CC hot topics being discussed in 2008?

There have been many news reports about melting ice caps, hurricanes, and tornadoes as possible effects of climate change. The IPCC Budapest conference was another highlight. Bali conference outcomes were briefly analysed. More storms than average raised public attention too. Climate change and weather have become mainstream subjects in the recent period:  e.g. there was 7.5 times more CC-related news in the electronic media in the beginning of 2007 than 1 year earlier. The online media is a huge contributor to the discussion, with 2699 articles about climate change in the first 6 months of 2007[6].


  • Are the NGOs in Hungary visible in the CC debate? Do the NGOs serve as partners to the government in the CC debate (shaping of policies)?

Yes, the Hungarian Climate Coalition (network of Env. NGOs) was very active in forming the National Climate Change Strategy that was unanimously accepted by the Parliament in March 2008. NGOs conducted the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the program, as well as contributed with input, and also presented media pressure (10 points for climate). Minor issues are also discussed, e.g. in 2008 the NGOs had huge response when the government attempted to move ETS issues from Ministry of Environment and Water (MoE) to Ministry of Finance. There were at least 3-4 climate campaigns (“climate tours”) of different NGOs around Hungary involving local people and children, including demonstrations of tips and tricks on reduction measures and the introduction of renewables. Practically all Env. NGOs have some climate-related activities. The MoE has raised the issue as priority in project calls. The energy advisory centers and environmental advisory groups that are operated by Env. NGOs are frequently responding to questions and requests from citizens related to renewable energies, energy-saving and efficiency measures. Currently the planning process of the national climate-change program is going forward with civil participation.


  • Is the IPCC AR4 used by NGOs as a source of information?

Yes, and the references are there in policy documents and lobby papers, as well as in the general communication of NGOs.


  • What are the main measures considered by NGOs to fight CC?

NGOs mostly promote energy-efficiency measures and renewables. Some specific NGOs push for appropriate Energy Strategy for Hungary. Public campaigns focus on demonstration of mitigation and adaptation hints and tips and renewable energy sources.

Main NGOs active on the field:


  • Are the media interested in CC except natural disasters like flooding?

The media are mostly interested in extremes such as natural disasters, within Hungary or outside. There is very little understanding of technical issues like EU ETS or effort-sharing. There were numerous articles from the industry’s point of view on emission-trading and auctioning, drawing the attention of a relatively small group of interested/affected public.


  • Is there any information in media about future targets (post Kyoto)? Is the info about EU CC (burden-sharing, ETS) interesting enough for the media?

Some specific media (mostly online economic or science-oriented portals) have offered information about the EU process: minimal reporting on UN post-Kyoto talks without high level of details. Some financial issues, e.g., Hungary selling AAUs to Belgium, got into online media.


  • Do journalists understand the process? Do they need to be educated?

Some journalists understand the process, but generally, the interest and knowledge is low regarding the details and technical issues. They could be educated.


  • Is there any information on adaptation to CC available for the public?

There is a scientific study project on adaptation supported by the government: the new VAHAVA report (Changes-Impacts-Answers). It is being drafted (to be ready in 2010) by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and will concentrate mainly on adaptation. Similarly to the first report, we can expect some media response on that. The previous results are available on the website in Hungarian language.

Interested people can receive some scientific information from here, but so far the public is not well informed.  One main adaptation measure likely to interest the public would be, e.g., installing air conditioning systems against summer heat waves.


  • What is the best domestic source on CC (in national language)?

ENGO websites: , ,

Official: ,

Scientific: , ,

Media: , , ,


  • Did the media inform about the IPCC 4AR outcomes?

Yes, all the biggest newspapers and online magazines covered the outcomes, mainly on the occasion of the Nobel Prize and the IPCC holding its 28th session in Budapest. Online media was practically full of the news about this event (approx. 1440 hits in Google for “ippc, Budapest” in Hungarian language).


Policies and measures


  • Has the government started a public discussion on post 2012 targets?

There is Post-Kyoto strategy linked to EU policy (burden-sharing) in the National CC Strategy but concrete goals are missing. There has been no public discussion.  A government/NGO information meeting was held in June 2008; there, the subject was raised briefly. Post-2012 issues have a very low profile in the media right now. Main discussion is about allocation of quotas (auctioning or not) after 2013.


  • EU ES  - the Hungarian position right now?

Officially Hungary is determined to stick to the proposal, and if necessary, to delay the process till spring 2009 to have satisfactory agreement on ES (

Compromise agreement could mean taking into consideration “early action” – i.e., hot-air reserve – of new MS countries, in some form of financial assistance towards new MSs to help to achieve reductions, but there is not yet an official mandate for any specific compromise solution.


  • What is the position regarding Hungarian national GHG reduction target (outside ETS and the ETS)?

A position has emerged within the industrial sector stating that GHG reduction targets will hinder economic development, but these arguments are not supported by studies or exact data.


  • Will the NGOs support the EC proposal, or higher or lower targets?

The NGOs (mainly the Hungarian Climate Coalition) call for stronger European commitment, meaning  a domestic reduction target of at least 30% by 2020 compared to 2005 levels[7]. NGOs in general support strict targets, with no country allowed higher emissions than its Kyoto target. According to EK estimations Hungary could reach at least 35% reduction compared to 2005 by means of increased efficiency and optimal use of renewable energy sources.


  • Will public (incl. media, independent voices) support EC proposal of higher or lower targets?

The media and public do not take sides in this question.  So far, the EU targets seem to be not well taken up, probably due to a lack of understanding of the issue.



  • Is the ETS openly supported by the government and industry?

Of course there has been opposition from industry at the beginning of the first and second periods, but fundamentally by now both the government and industries accept ETS as an effective way to reduce emissions. Industry respects ETS as a necessary burden; however, it will be built into the price of energy and pushed upon consumers.


  • Do you know about companies participating in the ETS that earned huge windfall profits? Is this publicly known?

Around 135 million EUR was “donated” to companies during the first 2 years of EU-ETS phase 1. The biggest winners were electricity-producing companies, with ca. 50 million EUR during 2 years[8]. We can name these companies, but the general public and the media are not interested in this subject as it is not well understood. There is also a feeling that certain lobby groups are against wider publicity.


  • Is IPCC Annex I target to reduce GHG emissions between 25 and 40 percent below 1990 after 2012 realistic for Hungary?

Yes, an EK study on alternative energy scenarios for Hungary has concluded that the country could reach at least 35% reduction compared to 2005 by means of increased efficiency and optimal use of renewable energy sources.


  • Is government strong enough to push for this target?

The government is determined to comply with European and international agreements. However, the Ministry of Environment and Water, which is responsible for this process, is historically not the strongest Ministry of our country. On the other hand, it is positive that Hungary has earmarked funds to invest in emission-reduction measures (as defined in the “Kyoto Act”). Our country also introduced the Green Investment Scheme. These two sources could bring altogether approx. 54 million EUR for climate investments.


  • Is public and industry prepared to accept higher energy prices for electricity, gas and other energies to make changes in energy use (efficiency, RE) in order to reach this goal?

Recent studies[9] have shown that auctioning will not have great impact on prices, partly because the majority of the companies have included the cost of allowances in the price of energy already. Energy pricing and subventions have been a hot issue in Hungary and the acceptance of any further increase is questionable. The public is ready to make reductions in order to save energy but the current support system for energy-efficiency measures (project application system and accounting) makes it almost impossible to apply for support. Another factor is that the utility billing system is constructed in a way (yearly measurement) that it is difficult to follow real consumption of households. The government has started to explore possibilities and potentials on energy efficiency and RES as a first step. With an appropriate harmonized strategy, these targets seem achievable.


  • What is the government doing to inform the public on how to reduce GHG emissions, save energy, how RE can be introduced? Is that enough?

The Ministry of Environment and Water is the body mainly responsible for GHG emission reductions and for informing the public.  They have conducted a special media campaign and a climate tour; they also issued a short bulletin for the general public on this issue. The impact has been minimal, since the campaign did not mobilize those that otherwise would have been not interested. The Ministry maintains a climate website and a Hungarian version of the EU’s “Change” campaign as well as its own campaign website:


In the media, Environment Ministers have linked climate change to the transport issue, e.g., promoting cycling. Unfortunately, available support schemes are not at all advertised and the system is very user-unfriendly, making it difficult for the public to apply.


  • What are the measures in force to promote RE?

There are two kinds of investment subsidies: one for the public, one for the business sector. These are combined with some loans on preferential terms to support investments. Unfortunately, the existing support measures are not well communicated, i.e., without any information campaign.  The public is not informed about the sources and ways to apply to them. Feed-in tariffs are in place (26,46 HUF/kW) for electricity, but the amount is only sufficient for support of biomass and wind energy, it is much too low to support hydro or solar energy sources. There is the National Energy Savings Program (operated by the Ministry of Transport, Telecommunication and Energy)

The business sector can seek funding from the Environment and Energy Operational Program (EEOP, or KEOP in Hungarian) of the New Hungary Development Plan (

The National Rural Development Plan supports the production, processing and own usage of biomass (e.g., for heating of greenhouses).


  • What is the main progress in energy savings and RE introduction that is visible in the last years (since 1990 and in the last 2-4 years)?


Following the collapse of heavy industry, since the 1990’s, the energy intensity of the country has improved. The Szechenyi program in the year 2000 was about the first governmental program to support residential energy-efficiency investments such as renovation of buildings, replacement of windows, and insulation. In the past few years, mainly thanks to European regulations and harmonization of EU and HU legislation, certain regulations and support schemes were developed in the EE field. Most recently, the National Energy Efficiency Action plan was adopted[10]. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive has been transformed into Hungarian legislation[11]. We expect to follow the EU’s goals on energy efficiency whenever the new regulations will come out (probably after adoption of the EU’s Climate and Energy package). Unfortunately, the government does not set an example in this field: practically no efficiency improvement measures have been implemented in the governmental, institutional or municipal sectors. The real political will is not the main driving force behind the introduction of these policies; the triggers come mostly from outside (EU requirements). On the other hand, these populist measures (increased governmental support for the public) are good opportunities for politicians. Therefore, certain measures do not fit in a comprehensive strategy or system. As well, the relevant institutions and their roles are very scattered; energy and efficiency are allocated to various ministries and institutions, and the support measures are not easy to follow either. On the other hand, Hungary (similarly to other CEE countries) has great potential for energy savings. Within this, the biggest potential belongs to the residential sector[12], which is responsible for approx. 30% of annual national CO2 emissions.


  • How do you see chances of RE and energy savings against the fossil fuels in Hungary  (do you expect RE and energy savings to grow slower than fossil use, faster or so fast that fossil fuel use will not grow any more, or even to grow so fast that fossil fuel use will be reduced?

As a member of the European Union, Hungary has the obligation to meet the binding targets set for the production of electricity from renewable energy sources (3,6% by 2010) and the share of biofuels within its fuel consumption (5,75% by 2010). With the new Renewable Energy Directive, new targets will apply, both for renewable energy in transport and for the share of renewables within the final energy consumption (13% in the case of Hungary). Driven by these binding targets, the Hungarian government prepared the legal environment for the growth of renewables and imposed diverse support mechanisms to stimulate their spreading. In sectors where no binding targets apply, no support mechanisms have been implemented (e.g., heat production from renewable energy sources). Hungary has great potential to produce energy from diverse types of renewable energy (e.g., the geothermal potential is above average, the number of sun hours is higher than in Germany or Austria with impressive solar energy performances, and due to the agriculture, significant amounts of waste products are available for biomass utilization). Nevertheless, the current legal conditions are not favorable enough to achieve significant changes in renewable-energy production. The Hungarian Renewable Energy Strategy projects in its policy scenario a renewable energy share of 15% by 2020. To achieve this, steady conditions have to be guaranteed for investors. Currently, regulations change very quickly.  The time frame of granting feed-in tariffs for green electricity producers is determined individually for each investment and the feed-in tariffs are not differentiated according to technologies, which proves attractive only for solid biomass utilization and wind energy production. Other very promising technologies such as geothermal heating and cooling, biogas or biomethane production, and photovoltaic find it difficult to enter the market. There is a need for political commitment to the introduction of? renewable energies. Should the predictions of the Policy Scenario of the Renewable Energy Strategy apply, the consumption of energy from renewable energy sources will grow faster than that of fossil fuels. Should the BAU Scenario apply, then the increase in the use of fossil fuels will exceed that of renewable energy sources.


  • Which new fossil fuel power plants are under construction (name, size in MW, heat production, fuels, and status of planning)?





Capacity  (MW)

In operation from

Further plans

Kárpát Energo











plus 400 MW






plus 1600 MW

Mátrai Erőmű Zrt






Mátrai Erőmű Zrt.






MOL + Cez













  • Is the clean coal burning being proposed as the option?

A CCS pilot project is being considered in case of Mátra PP extension at Visonta (lignite fuel) – the investment to be realized from private money. Currently, the Hungarian government does not support either pilot projects or CCS research. CCS is believed by the MOL Hungarian Oil Company to present a good opportunity to store CO2 while practicing enhanced oil recovery.. MOL is also preparing to provide infrastructure for transport and storage, i.e., to store CO2 that will be captured elsewhere. There are several surveillance projects (by ELGI – Eötvös Loránt Geophysical Institute) to determine potential storage sites. There is no clear consensus between the government and experts what should be meant by “clean coal” technology. Mostly they refer to highly efficient combined combustion power plants and / or CCS. “Clean coal” technology (IGCC) is proposed by the mining sector, e.g., in the Matra region, where local coal mines could be re-opened. But such technologies are not yet in operation in Hungary. CHPs are also considered “cleaner” because of lower CO2 emissions and higher efficiency.


  • Is the nuclear power considered by the government as the option for GHG emission reduction?

Hungary has one nuclear power plant near the city of Paks (see, which contributes to 33-34% of the country’s gross electricity consumption.

The phase-out of this NPP is scheduled for 2012-2017 (all 4 units, gradually). However, there are plans to extend the lifespan of the reactor by 20 years until 2032-37. These plans are likely to be endorsed by the government and there is no significant public opposition towards them. A limiting factor could be the mechanical status of the units. According to previous communication from the Ministry of Transport, Telecommunication and Energy, the Hungarian government is in favor of including nuclear energy as part of the energy mix and there is a good chance that the Paks NPP will remain a predominant factor in the Hungarian electricity generation market.  The most frequently used argument is that of energy security (reducing dependence on imported gas), cheap production, and low emissions. There are also some preliminary plans to expand the Paks NPP but these plans have no concrete deadline for endorsement.


Other information


  • Who are the main stakeholders and governmental bodies responsible for CC process in Hungary?

The main responsible governmental body is the Ministry of Environment and Water -

Ministry of Transport, Telecommunication and Energy -

Ministry of National Development and Economy -

Hungarian Energy Office -

Hungarian Academy of Science -

Hungarian Meteorological Service -


  • Domestic web address where relevant (inc. governmental data) can be found? , , , ,



[1] National Inventory Report for 1985-2006 Hungary, April 2008, Hungarian Meteorological Service.

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Division

[2] National Inventory Report for 1985-2006 Hungary, April 2008, Hungarian Meteorological Service,

Greenhouse Gas Inventory Division





[5] Social Climate Report 1., by TÁRKI and Image Factory, August 2007.

[6] From:  Social Climate Report 1., by TÁRKI and Image Factory, August 2007.


[8] from „A 2005 és a 2006-os európai és magyar EU-ETS kibocsátási adatok elemzése” (Analysis of 2005-2006 EU-ETS emission allocations in Hungary and in Europe) by András Mezősi, REKK

[9] The impact of auctioning on European wholesale electricity prices post-2012 by New Carbon Finance, 16th September 2008