Hungary adopts new climate law to reach net-zero targets by 2050

The Hungarian Parliament passed a new law that confirms climate-neutrality by 2050 as a legally binding obligation. The adopted legislation demonstrates Hungary’s commitment to tackle climate change in line with the European Commission’s long-term climate objectives, according to the Ministry of Innovation and Technology. Although the new act contains forward-looking elements, it has been criticised for lacking ambitions to effectively fight climate change.

Péter Kaderják, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Policy emphasised that along the policy measures set out in the climate strategies and action plans adopted by the government, Hungary can gradually become a climate-neutral country by the middle of the century without the transition jeopardising economic growth and social welfare.

Earlier this year, the government announced the launch of the Climate and Nature Protection Plan that set out inter alia a support system for the renewable energy production of small and medium-sized enterprises, a six-fold increase of installed solar capacity in the next ten years and new incentives for the procurement of low- and zero-emission vehicles.

Mr Kaderják stressed that by 2030, 90 per cent of the energy generated in Hungary will be carbon-free. This strategy is relying primarily on the combination of nuclear and solar energy, that will account for the majority of Hungary’s power supply according to the government’s long-term energy strategy.

Although the new legislation declared climate-neutrality as a long-term objective, opposition leaders and environmentalist groups voiced their concerns that the 2050 target is both too far and too general. They criticised the new legislation for lacking ambitions as they wanted to see a higher level of commitment to reduce emissions and to increase the share of renewables over the course of the next ten years.

Péter Kaderják argued that Hungary is at the forefront in achieving the undertaken emission reduction targets among the EU Member States.

“By 2030, Hungary will be one of the few Member States that will not only be able to meet the targets of emission reduction in the non-ETS sectors such as transport, building, waste management and agriculture but is expected to meet them even earlier,” claimed Mr Kaderják after the Parliament enacted the new climate law.

However, the Minister of State underlined that the costs of a climate-neutral economy should be borne by the major polluters, reiterating that Hungary opposes the reallocation of funds from the cohesion pockets to climate protection in the EU’s next long-term budget.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is reviewing the EU’s 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in light of the mid-century climate neutrality objective, exploring options for 50 to 55 per cent emissions reduction, a significant increase from the current 2030 targets that stipulates reductions of up to 40 per cent.

In September, the Commission is set to present an analysis, assessing the state of play and the measures presented by the EU member states are sufficient to reach the higher targets.

Yesterday, the Hungarian state also announced that it successfully issued its 1.5 billion euros international green bond for the first time, oversubscribed by five times. The issuer will use the proceeds from the green bond to finance and refinance certain green expenditures of the central budget in accordance with the Sovereign Green Bond Framework Program.


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