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Paris climate conference Swiss want developing countries to pull their weight

Low lying islands like Kiribati that are prone to sea-level rise are calling for more ambitious global warming targets


At the Paris climate conference (COP21) that commences on November 30, the Swiss will be lobbying to remove the distinction between developed and developing countries when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 “From Switzerland's perspective, all states should commit to clear reduction targets that are quantifiable and unconditional,” said a statement that summarised the government’s position. 

In February this year, Switzerland committed to halving its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. But the government believes that the various national level commitments announced before COP21 are not enough to keep global warming below the 2°C threshold by 2100. 

Switzerland will be pushing for the “establishment of common rules for the submission of objectives and monitoring their implementation”. It will also advocate for the introduction of international standards to ensure that emission offsetting projects actually result in additional emission reductions. 


 Like other developed countries such as the US and Australia, the Swiss have also rejected the calls from some developing countries to set up a compensation fund for loss and damages attributed to climate change. This includes the setting up of a “climate change displacement co-ordination facility” to help people displaced by climate change. Switzerland will only finance the implementation of climate change adaptation strategies enshrined in national climate policies. 

At the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, developed countries had promised to raise $100 billion (CHF102 billion) a year until 2020 to finance the climate change policies of developing countries. For its part, Switzerland has promised $100 million to the Green Climate Fund, to be paid in three instalments, between 2015 and 2018. At COP21, the Alpine nation plans to advocate for “an expansion of the donor circle that will support countries without sufficient means”. 

The Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga will attend the inauguration of the climate conference, and the environment minister Doris Leuthard will participate in the negotiations along with a 20-strong Swiss delegation.

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