On Tuesday, Swiss president Doris Leuthard attended the One Planet Summit in Paris, exactly two years after the historic COP21 climate conference in the same city.
In a press briefing, Leuthard emphasised the importance of the French climate initiativeexternal link, and its relationship to the 2015 Conference of Parties (COP) 21external link, where the historic Paris climate agreementexternal link was negotiated.
“I am still optimistic. We need to keep talking about the climate. Such an event helps us remember that we are way behind when it comes to emissions reduction,” the Swiss environment minister said.
When asked about the risk that the summit will lead to more words rather than concrete results, Leuthard responded frankly: “That risk always exists. But it is very positive to reunite political actors with those from science and the private sector. In that regard, this summit is more concrete than the COPs”.
As for Switzerland’s contribution to the event, Leuthard emphasised its engagement in promoting so-called green finance, or investments in sustainable development and economies. “We are very active in this domain,” she declared. “We can help others profit from our expertise, notably in matters of environmental analysis of corporate portfolios.”
Before arriving on Seguin Island where the summit was held, the Swiss president met with French president Emmanuel Macron and several other heads of state for a working lunch at the Élysée Palace. Leuthard also participated in a panel entitled, “Accelerating the market toward a decarbonised economy,” attended notably by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
By ratifying the Paris climate agreement, Switzerland agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half compared to 1990 by 2030. At the beginning of December, the Federal Council, Switzerland’s executive body, sent to parliament its measures to reduce national emissions by a minimum of 30%.