Switzerland Switzerland

Switzerland drops one spot, to 15th, in this year’s CCPI, but remains among the overall high-performing countries.

The country shows, like last year, high performance in the GHG Emissions and Energy Use categories, and medium in Renewable Energy. In Climate Policy, Switzerland falls 11 ranks and receives only a low rating.

Concerning its long-term climate strategy, Switzerland in 2021 committed itself to net zero emissions by 2050, but no further policies are in place on how to reach that goal. The CO2 Act, which the Swiss government planned and that was supposed to regulate emissions until 2030, was narrowly rejected by referendum in June 2021. Opponents had warned of rising prices resulting from higher taxes for fossil fuels. These arguments especially convinced those living in rural regions. The CCPI experts evaluated the failed CO2 Act as insufficient for reaching the net zero target. They urge the government to enact a more ambitious law as soon as possible.

Regarding international climate policy, the experts acknowledge the country’s proactive role at the international diplomatic level in promoting transparency and mitigation. They do, however, request a higher financial contribution to public climate finance, and strengthening of Switzerland’s engagement in loss and damage.

The following national expert agreed to be mentioned as contributor for this year’s CCPI: Georg Klingler Heiligtag (Greenpeace Switzerland)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.