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Strategy shortfall Switzerland plummets in global climate rankings

Climate protester holds sign saying 'Climate Justice Now'

Protesters have held several climate demonstrations in Switzerland this year.

(Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi)

An annual league table that ranks countries according to their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has dropped Switzerland seven places to 16th position this year. WWF Switzerland says the country must invest more action to back up its rhetoric on climate change.

The Climate Change Performance Indexexternal link (CCPI), presented on Tuesday at the UN climate change conferenceexternal link in Madrid, compares the performance of 61 countries that account for 90% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Switzerland has scaled up its climate strategy ambitions, saying that it aims to become climate neutral by 2050. It has also set a 2030 interim goal of reducing emissions by 30% from 1990 levels, but recently admitted it must ramp up its efforts to meet these targets.

WWF Switzerlandexternal link climate protection expert Patrick Hofstetter was even more critical in response to the CCPI findings. “As a rich country, Switzerland can and must increase its ambitions in terms of climate protection,” he said. “We have the technology and we have the money. We just lack the political will.”

CCPI said Switzerland’s slip down the rankingsexternal link reflected an “overall low ambition and lack of implementation of the country’s climate policy. When it comes to emissions reduction, Switzerland announced a 2050 net-zero goal in August 2019, which however still lacks a binding strategy to secure its implementation.”

The ranking, compiled by Climate Action Network (CAN), The New Climate Institute and Germanwatch, also picked up on “ongoing fossil fuel subsidies”, “ineffective renewable energy support schemes” and “a recent rise of transport emissions”.

In a separate study, the European Union named the Swiss-Italian Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) in its list of top 10 carbon emitters. MSC was responsible for 11 million tonnes of CO2 emissions last year.

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