Switzerland pledges climate neutrality by 2050

(EurActiv, 29 Aug 2019) The Swiss government announced on Wednesday (28 August) that it will cut its greenhouse gas emissions to a net-zero level by 2050, taking heed of a landmark UN report on climate change.

Switzerland, well known for its neutrality in political matters, will ratchet up its existing 70-85% goal, according to officials in Bern. That means that by mid-century it will be absorbing all the emissions it releases, either through natural or technological means.

The government cited “new scientific findings”, in reference to a 2018 report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as the reason for its decision.

Under 2016’s Paris Agreement, countries pledged to limit global warming this century to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius and to make all possible efforts to keep it to just 1.5 degrees. Switzerland’s new target is intended to contribute to the latter goal.

“Global warming of 1.5 degrees could also lead to serious changes in ecosystems and that a net emission balance of zero would have to be achieved considerably sooner,” the government said in a statement.

The non-EU member sources about 60% of its electricity from hydropower, 33% from nuclear and the rest from fossil fuels. In the total energy mix, fossil fuels still make up about 63% though.

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EurActiv, 29 Aug 2019: Switzerland pledges climate neutrality by 2050