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Climate conference


Swiss minister urges 'many small steps'


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Swiss environment minister Doris Leuthard urged the world’s industrialised nations to do more to help emerging and developing countries confront the challenge of rising temperatures.

At the United Nations climate conference in Marrakesh, Leuthard, who signed the Paris climate agreement in April of this year, said the first step forward must actually be taken in “many small steps” for the world to succeed in meeting its commitments. Switzerland is expected to ratify the deal by the end of the 2017.

She also emphasised the need for more private investment in new technologies that are carbon-neutral, the environment ministry said. Leuthard is concerned, however, that some countries might try to block negotiations on how to best implement the agreement.

Climate policy rankings

Her comments in Marrakech come a day after the publication of the report, Climate Change Performance Index 2017. Switzerland managed 14th place among 61 countries in a worldwide ranking of climate change performance topped by France, Sweden and the UK. 

The alpine nation just managed to scrape into the category of “good” countries and climbed up one rank in the index released by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe.

Switzerland did particularly well on climate policy. The report stated that Switzerland – along with South Africa, the Netherlands and Portugal - showed “potential of rising into the good performing group”.

No country made the top three spots on the ranking because none had achieved the objectives of the Paris climate agreement of 2015. But host country France made 4th place with a score of 66.17 compared to Switzerland’s 61.66.

Apart from France, the Swiss managed to do better than neighbours Italy (16th place), Germany (29th place) and Austria (41st place). Oil producer Saudi Arabia came in last.

WWF Switzerland called the nation’s performance “poor result” and blamed traffic and the slow pace of adopting renewable energies.

The NGO said the country should move up the ranking once it begins implementing its 2050 Energy Strategy and if cantons apply their regulations on energy efficient buildings. 

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