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Emission credits from Switzerland and companies that participate in emissions trading can be recorded in the National Emissions Trading Registry. The FOEN uses the registry to check whether companies meet their commitments, while the authorities use it to ensure that federal reduction targets are met.
The National Emissions Trading Registry is an online accounting system. It ensures that the issuance, holding, transfer, acquisition, cancellation and surrender of emission credits are accurately recorded. The registry is similar to a journal: changes are documented in it. However, the trading is actually organised by the private sector.
Each transaction in the register is checked and approved by a central authority (UNFCCC Secretariat) through an electronic log (International Transaction Log, ITL). The credits exist only in electronic form.
In addition to companies that must hold an account in the registry in order to fulfil their commitments under the CO2 Act (2008-2012 or 2013-2020), other actors in the Swiss National Emissions Trading Registry may open an account in order to participate in the emissions trading scheme. The provisions of the previous CO2 Act apply to the 2008-2012 period.
The registry enables Switzerland to participate in the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol (Joint Implementation, Clean Development Mechanism). In addition to emissions trading, companies with a commitment under the CO2 Act can take advantage of another option to meet their emission targets: certificates from projects carried out abroad may be purchased and used up to a certain limit to offset their emissions.
As the lead agency for implementing the Kyoto Protocol and the CO2 Act, the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) is also responsible for managing the registry. The CO2 Ordinance stipulates that registry data must be published electronically, unless it is highly sensitive.
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