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.
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.
- Related indicators
- Cattle population
- CO2 Emissions from thermal and motor fuels
- Evolution of annual mean temperature
- Greenhouse gas balance of land use
- Greenhouse gas footprint
- Treibhausgasemissionen nach Gasen
- Treibhausgasemissionen nach Sektoren
- Treibhausgasemissionen pro Kopf
- Treibhausgas-Konzentration in der Atmosphäre
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).
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.
|Approach to the theoretical path in %
|27,62 mio t CO2eq in 2030
|Towards theoretical path
|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.