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Environment Swiss fuel-related CO2 emissions remained stable in 2018

Pollution from car exhaust fumes

Last year, average new car emissions reached 137.8 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre - while the national limit is 130g CO2/km.

(© Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

Despite an increase in the use of biofuels and electric vehicles, fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions remained unchanged in 2018 in the country. The stagnation was due to the increase in road traffic. 

Owing to a rise in the average number of kilometres Swiss residents travelled last year, as well as growth in higher-emissions passenger vehicles – mainly four-wheel drives – fuel-related CO2 emissions in 2017 were still 3.3% above their 1990 level, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) reported on Tuesdayexternal link.

Biofuels, which helped temper the increase, represented 3.5% of all fuels used in Switzerland – a 36% increase compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, average CO2 emissions from fuel oil and gas fell by 2.2%. This is mainly due to more efficient buildings and the use of renewable energies, the office said.

In a statement issued on Tuesdayexternal link, the Swiss branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said total CO2 emissions had only fallen by 1% last year, showing that Switzerland was “way off track” to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. 

“This development is unacceptable and far from sufficient to counter climate change,” said WWF climate expert Patrick Hofstetter. “Even the weak objectives of the current CO2 law have not been met.” 

He urged the government to increase the CO2 tax on fuels from CHF96 to CHF120 ($97 to $121) per ton. He wants fuel importers to compensate for up to 40% of emissions, while the Federal Council has set a 10% target for 2020.

Hofstetter also pointed out that the Swiss voted in 2017 to lower the vehicle emissions limit from 130g per CO2/km to 95g by the end of 2020 to meet the requirements of the 2050 energy strategy. However, the government has postponed its introduction until 2023.

“It can correct that this year, and it should do so,” he said. 

Motor trends The growing Swiss love affair with 4x4s

The Swiss seem to be falling more and more in love with big powerful cars with four-wheel-drive performance.

An earlier version of this article was published with the headline, "Swiss fuel-related CO2 emissions remained stable in 2019". This has been corrected to say that the emissions remained stable in 2018.


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