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Reducing emissions

The ‘ambitious but realistic’ aims of Swiss climate policy

Switzerland is currently responsible for 0.1% of global emissions. (RDB)

Switzerland is currently responsible for 0.1% of global emissions.


Switzerland plans to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in relation to 1990 levels. To reach this target, the government has launched the consultation period for three climate projects. Environmental organisations have been quick to say Switzerland is not doing enough.

Adopting the Paris climate agreement, revising the law on carbon dioxide and reaching an agreement with the European Union on integrating an emissions trading scheme: these are the three projects that will be discussed in consultation until November 30.

Nine months after the historic international climate agreement in Paris – which aims to limit the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels”, Switzerland wants to be among the first 60 states to ratify the agreement, said Environment Minister Doris Leuthard on Thursday.

Ideally, the agreement would be ratified by parliament next summer, she said, adding that Bern’s target of halving its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in relation to 1990 levels was “ambitious but realistic”.

In order to support the government’s Energy Strategy 2050 and respect its Paris commitments, Switzerland also plans to revise its law on carbon dioxide. Instruments already used would be strengthened and the government would set intermediate targets, Leuthard explained.

To reduce emissions, Switzerland is focusing in particular on measures in sectors including construction (energy efficiency), transport, industry and agriculture.

The cabinet has also put out to consultation the project to connect the Swiss emissions trading scheme to that of the EU. The agreement signed by Bern and Brussels at the beginning of the year foresees the reciprocal recognition of emissions laws.

But according to the Swiss Climate Alliance, which comprises 66 NGOS, the Swiss government is not keeping its promises. In particular, the alliance says the new CO2 law will not allow the government to reach its targets and shift completely from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050.



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