Switzerland approves Paris Agreement, outlines strategy to meet climate pledge

Published 17:18 on March 23, 2016  /  Last updated at 17:18 on March 23, 2016  /  Climate Talks, EMEA, EU ETS, International, Kyoto Mechanisms, Switzerland  /  No Comments

Switzerland’s Federal Council on Wednesday approved the Paris Agreement and outlined its strategy for meeting its carbon reduction pledge, setting it up as one of a handful of nations intending to make substantial use of international credits.

Switzerland’s Federal Council on Wednesday approved the Paris Agreement and outlined its strategy for meeting its carbon reduction pledge, setting it up as one of a handful of nations intending to make substantial use of international credits.

The Council’s approval paves the way for the country’s parliament to ratify the agreement and Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard to sign it along with other world leaders on Apr. 22 in New York.

In a release on the Swiss environment ministry’s website, the government also outlined the measures it will implement between 2021 and 2030 to meet its commitment to cut GHG emissions by 50% below 1990 levels by 2030.

The statement reiterated the country would meet at least three-fifths of its 50% target through domestic measures, with the remaining two-fifths achieved through GHG cuts made abroad.

It added that a obligation for fuel importers to offset part of the country’s transport emissions would be expanded after 2020 to include measures outside of Switzerland.

The current measure means the Swiss Petroleum Association, a group of 35 fuel importers including BP, Migrol, and A.H. Meyer & Ci, are due to buy around 6.5 million domestic offset credits by the end of the decade.

Other measures in the Swiss strategy include:

  • Maintaining the CO2 tax levied on fuels, which may be increased depending on domestic emissions growth;
  • Regulating large emitters, which are exempt from the tax, through the Swiss ETS, which will soon link to the EU carbon market;
  • Developing regulations to reduce CO2 from cars in harmony with EU rules;
  • Introduce a technology fund for companies developing low-carbon innovations;
  • Temporarily retain country’s the existing CO2-reduction initiative for buildings, but replace it in the medium term with an enhanced programme;

The country said its existing programme to cut emission from buildings had fallen short in 2010-2014, the initiative’s first five years.  The programme is to be reviewed and its funding increased, the government added.

SECTORAL TARGETS

“The Federal Council intends to set intermediate targets for construction, transport, and industry, as it has done so far, as well as for agriculture, which will also contribute to the goal,” the statement said.

The strategy requires the country’s CO2 Act to be revised, and the government said consultations on this would begin in the autumn.

The Swiss government said it would take inventory in 2017 to evaluate whether it had met its 2015 interim goal to cut emissions and to measure progress towards its 2020 target of a 20% cut below 1990.

By Mike Szabo – mike@carbon-pulse.com

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