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Switzerland expands global carbon offsetting network

Gardener works on rooftop garden
A Thai gardener works on an organic rooftop garden in Bangkok. Keystone / Barbara Walton

Switzerland has agreed in principle to offset part of its carbon emissions reduction target by supporting green projects in Thailand.

The official joint statementExternal link with the Thai authorities marks the fourth country that Switzerland has identified as a partner state.

Switzerland has adopted a strategy to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. In addition to reducing emissions within Switzerland and turning to more renewable energy sources, up to 25% of emissions cuts can be made abroad.

This includes helping other countries to reduce their CO2 footprint. Switzerland has signed deals with Peru (a world first), followed by Ghana, and then laid the ground for a similar cooperation with Senegal.

Thailand is the fourth country to show concrete interest in such a partnership – made possible by a clause in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

However, such carbon offsetting ventures have been met with criticism in some quarters. In particular, critics are wary that countries within such an arrangement could each claim the emissions reductions.

A Swiss government statement on Friday said that climate projects in Thailand should avoid such double counting. In addition: “It must also be ensured that climate activities abroad respect nature conservation and human rights and contribute to sustainable development.”

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