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Revised CO2 Act effective 1 January 2013

The revised CO2 Act, the cornerstone of Swiss climate policy, came into force on 1 January 2013. It sets an emissions reduction target for 2020 and sets out various measures for buildings, transport and industry. If the interim targets are not achieved, specific measures may be tightened.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland should be reduced by 20% from their 1990 level by 2020. This means a reduction of approximately 11 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Households and companies also contribute to the savings. If the interim goals (see CO2 Ordinance, Art. 3) are not achieved, the Federal Council can tighten regulations on thermal and motor fuels.

Buildings and transport

The revised CO2 Act maintains the incentive fee on fossil thermal fuels (CO2 levy) introduced in 2008 and raises it in step with the interim targets. First, the CO2 levy increases the cost of heating buildings with oil or gas. This makes energy efficiency renovations and renewable energies more attractive. A portion of the levy will be used for the buildings programme, which promotes building renovations, investments in renewable energies, waste heat recovery and building utilities optimisation.

Collection of the CO2 levy on thermal fuels - (in German, French or Italian)

Two measures are aimed at reducing emissions caused by transport:

  • Regulations on emissions from passenger cars cap their average CO2 emissions at 130 g of CO2/km starting in 2015.
  • Importers of petrol and diesel must also compensate for a portion of motor fuel emissions by investing in climate protection projects in Switzerland.


The incentive fee for fossil thermal fuels (CO2 levy) provides an incentive to companies to operate as energy efficiently as possible. The CO2 Act provides two measures for especially energy intensive industries and companies:

  • Companies that have committed to limit their greenhouse gases can be exempted from CO2 levy by the federal government.
  • Large companies in specific industries that generate a large quantity of emissions are automatically exempted from the CO2 levy and involved in the emissions trading scheme. The federal government allocates a constantly decreasing quantity of emissions allowances to these companies. If the companies generate more than their allotted quantity of CO2, they purchase the emissions allowances they need to make up the difference within the emissions trading scheme.
Exemption from the CO2 levy for companies - (in German, French or Italian)

Redistribution of the CO2 levy

Approximately two-thirds of the CO2 levy is redistributed to the general public through a reduction in health insurance premiums and to the businesses through OASI compensation offices.

Since the redistribution is carried out per capita or per franc of salary independently of consumption, all households and installations that consume low quantities of fossil thermal fuels benefit from it.

Redistribution of the CO2 levy - (in German, French or Italian)

Contact: climate@bafu.admin.ch
Last updated on: 01.12.2014

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