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The Swiss government is the first to submit a climate change pledge, and promises to target 50% greenhouse gas cuts on 1990 levels by 2030 and 70-85% by 2050.

In February, Switzerland has released a formal communication that defines the range if its contribution to a UN climate change deal: the country will cut 50% greenhouse gas emissions on 1990 levels by 2030, and 30% of these cuts will be achieved within the country, while the remaining 20% via carbon markets or other forms of offsets. The government is also discussing a long term target to reduce emissions by 70-85% by 2050 on 1990 levels.

According to the communication, the 2030 goal “reflects Switzerland’s responsibility for climate warming and the potential cost of emissions reduction measures in Switzerland and abroad over the 2020-2030 period”, but many object that there’s no clarity on how the 30% domestic emissions cuts would be accomplished, that nothing’s said about climate finance, and that the document lacks a support plan for developing countries.

At the moment, Switzerland is responsible for 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and, with 6.4 tonnes per capita per year and based on the structure of its economy, is considered to have a low level of emissions.

The communication claims the target to be “compatible” with efforts to limit warming to below 2°C, and Switzerland’s chief climate negotiator Franz Perrez highlighted that, given the country’s very low per capita emissions and the thereby limited availability of cost-effective short term domestic emission reduction potential, “the use of international credits meeting high environmental standards will allow Switzerland to contribute to quick emission reductions, while at the same time to continue its ambitious pathway towards further reduction of domestic emissions”.

Switzerland’s pledge has been issued two days after the European Commission published its own plans for a contribution to the Paris climate deal set to be signed in December, and ensues from the commitment that all major economies have taken to submit to the UN their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ before 1 October 2015.


The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Monday, 2 March 2015

(Source: Guardian)