Indicator Climate

Greenhouse gas emissions

In Switzerland, the overall impact of human activities on the climate is, to a very large extent, determined by the quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in response to energy needs. At present, transport is the most significant source of CO2 emissions in Switzerland, followed by buildings and industry. Agriculture is the main source of nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions.

Assessment of the state
poor poor
Assessment of the trend
unsatisfactory unsatisfactory
Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2030: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2029: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2028: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2027: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2026: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2025: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2024: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2023: 35.9742396781834 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2022: 35.9742396781834 Target according to Paris Agreement for 2030 2030: 27.672492060141 GHG emissions 2021: 45.24858135913 GHG emissions 2020: 43.9065583122028 GHG emissions 2019: 46.5907607641204 GHG emissions 2018: 46.8581075161118 GHG emissions 2017: 48.3684175194011 GHG emissions 2016: 49.336174477868 GHG emissions 2015: 49.0268572022954 GHG emissions 2014: 49.553818681963 GHG emissions 2013: 53.4944187732897 GHG emissions 2012: 52.6557293289042 GHG emissions 2011: 51.332100344199 GHG emissions 2010: 55.4568455869687 GHG emissions 2009: 53.8748277765095 GHG emissions 2008: 55.3645967143711 GHG emissions 2007: 53.9750080314225 GHG emissions 2006: 55.9203497548199 GHG emissions 2005: 56.2542681475579 GHG emissions 2004: 55.6373391056769 GHG emissions 2003: 55.0572637242049 GHG emissions 2002: 54.0090478246713 GHG emissions 2001: 55.5789011083203 GHG emissions 2000: 54.0689419776723 GHG emissions 1999: 54.8275662407635 GHG emissions 1998: 55.0409201235464 GHG emissions 1997: 53.5282740520313 GHG emissions 1996: 54.7640264624899 GHG emissions 1995: 54.1312591414632 GHG emissions 1994: 53.2634905488976 GHG emissions 1993: 54.3271891736438 GHG emissions 1992: 56.9387970939641 GHG emissions 1991: 57.2154977857898 GHG emissions 1990: 55.3449841202821

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment: Greenhouse Gas Inventory
Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2029: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2028: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2027: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2026: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2025: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2024: -35 Average target according to Paris Agreement for 2021-2030 2023: -35 Target according to Paris Agreement for 2030 2030: -50 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2021: -18 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2020: -21 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2019: -16 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2018: -15 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2017: -13 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2016: -11 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2015: -11 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2014: -10 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2013: -3 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2012: -5 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2011: -7 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2010: 0 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2009: -3 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2008: 0 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2007: -2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2006: 1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2005: 2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2004: 1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2003: -1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2002: -2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2001: 0 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 2000: -2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1999: -1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1998: -1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1997: -3 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1996: -1 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1995: -2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1994: -4 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1993: -2 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1992: 3 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1991: 3 Change in GHG emissions compared to 1990 1990: 0

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment: Greenhouse Gas Inventory
  • Database
Comment

In 2021, Switzerland's greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 45.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This represents a 18% reduction relative to 1990. 

Developments differed from sector to sector: at 31%, transport accounted for the largest proportion of total emissions in 2021. Transport volumes fell massively in the wake of the pandemic and remain below pre-Corona levels. Emissions have increased by almost 1.3% compared to the previous year and were 7% below 1990. Emissions in the building sector in 2021 were 30% lower than in 1990. In 2021, industry emitted 21% less CO2 equivalents relative to 1990. Overall, other emissions fell by 11% relative to 1990.

The CO2 Act introduced several measures intended to reduce emissions in the various sectors, including an increase in the CO2 levy on thermal fuels combined with an increase in contributions to the federal Buildings Programme, emission regulations for new vehicles, the Emission Trading Scheme for energy-intensive industries and an obligation for importers to compensate for some of the CO2 emissions attributable to motor fuels.

Under the Paris Agreement, Switzerland is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % compared with the 1990 level by 2030 (orange column) and by an average of at least 35 % over the 2021–2030 period (green dotted line). The review of the target achievement will consider the accountable sink resulting from the CO2 storage by Swiss forests and harvested wood products and eligible international attestations. By 2050, the impact of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland should be zero (net zero target).

Information on the reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement and the CO2 Act for the individual periods is available on the following page: Switzerland’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

International comparison

Under the Climate Convention (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, the greenhouse gas emissions of all industrialised countries are calculated in accordance with detailed guidelines. Expert panels review compliance with the guidelines. The UNFCCC greenhouse gas inventories are used by a number of international organisations (e.g., by the European Environment Agency EEA, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD, and the Commission on Sustainable Development CSD).

Method

The data are taken from Switzerland's Greenhouse Gas Inventory. This is produced by the FOEN annually in accordance with the guidelines of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The methodology is documented in detail in the National Inventory Document and is in line with the technical guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This indicator shows the total of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, expressed in million tonnes of CO2-equivalent, i.e. the various non-CO2 greenhouse gases are converted into CO2-equivalents in accordance with their specific environmental impact. Methodological changes or the availability of new data require a recalculation of the entire time series since 1990.

Basis for assessment of the trend
Targeted trend Initial value Final value Approach to the theoretical path in % Observed trend Assessment
27,62 mio t CO2eq in 2030 2008 2021 61.82% Towards theoretical path unsatisfactory
Basis: GHG emissions

* The first year for the assessment is 2008 – the year the CO2 levy was introduced. The introduction of the levy also seems to coincide with the beginning of the turning point in emissions.

 
Last updated on: 11.04.2023

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