Switzerland first to submit INDC, aims to halve emissions by 2030

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27 February 2015

LONDON: Switzerland is the first country to have formally submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution ahead of the COP21 global climate talks in Paris. The government has just made public its goal to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 50% by 2030. 

The target will be achieved based on the 1990 levels, with a domestic reduction of “at least” 30%. The potential gap will be filled trough carbon markets or other projects carried abroad for the reduction of pollutants. By 2020 the country will reduce its GHGs by 20% on 1990 levels, and is discussing aiming to reach a reduction of 70-85% by 2050.

“Even though the country’s levels of GHG emissions represent just a small fraction of the world’s total, the pledge from Switzerland could be a positive step to build up early confidence toward Paris,” underlined Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group. “Last October, Europe was the first major economy to agree on its climate targets ahead of the Paris conference, and its leaders should be commended for that.

“The binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 was an important first step. But it was still not enough to put the EU on a path to net zero emissions by mid-century and kick start the transformational change we need. 40% must be seen as a floor which opens the door to increased ambition.

“European leaders must now seize the opportunity to strengthen their ambitions and set the EU on a clear path to an innovative, prosperous, job-creating, low carbon future.”

In 1990, excluding land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) in Switzerland emitted about 53,000 gigagrams CO2 equivalent, reducing it to 51,821 in 2000 and 50,363 in 2012 – a 2.8% drop from 1990 to 2012.

In 2012, CO2 represented 83.61% of the GHG emissions including LULUCF. Energy sector accounted for 80.6% of it, excluding LULUCF – primarily from transport, 39.35% of the sector. As for the industrial processes, the sector is split between mineral products (53.68%) and consumption of halocarbons and SF6 (40.53%).

Switzerland is responsible for 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions and has a low level of emissions - 6.4 tons per capita a year. Demonstrating again that economic growth can be achieved within environmental protection, according to the document presented to the press, “Switzerland emits less GHG today than in 1990 despite the fact that gross national product increased by 36% over the intervening period.”

The press statement claims such reduction “is also compatible with the pathway defined by climate experts to keep climate warming below two degrees between now and the end of the century.”


 

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