Greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland rose slightly in 2016, the Federal Office of the Environment says. The reason was that year’s particularly cool winter temperatures led to increased energy use.
Emissions increased by 0.4 million tonnes to 48.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalentexternal link (the common unit for describing different greenhouse gases) in 2016, a statementexternal link said.
The statistics come from Switzerland’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2016external link, which was handed to the United Nations’ Environment Secretariat on Friday. The inventory gives a picture of Switzerland’s greenhouse emissions, which are regulated by the UN’s Kyoto Protocol.
Under Kyoto, the target is the mean reduction of total emissions of all greenhouse gases over the period 2013-2020 by 15.8% compared with 1990 levels.
The largest producer of greenhouse gases was traffic, at 15.3 million tonnes of CO2 eq. This is 3% higher than the traffic emissions in 1990, which serve as a benchmark (and should not be exceeded), but 1% less than 2015.
The environment officeexternal link said that CO2 emissions per kilometre had fallen since 2008, but people were simply driving further these days.
Buildings were the second largest source of emissions at 13.2 million tonnes of CO2 eq, 23% lower than the 1990 standard. These emissions have been falling since 2005, the environment office said, but the amount varies greatly from year to year, depending on the winter and how much heating is used. “These variations are a sign of how much the building sector is still dependent on fossil fuels,” the statement said. “Due to the cool winter temperatures, building emissions rose 3.6% in 2016 on the year before.”
But industry and farming fared better. Industry reduced its emissions to 10.9 million tonnes of CO2 eq, 16% under the 1990 level. In farming it was 6.5 million tonnes of CO2 eq, 10% less than in 1990. In both sectors emissions remained stable compared with the previous year.