Compensation for CO2 emissions

Both importers of fossil fuels and operators of fossil thermal power plants are required to compensate domestically for CO2 emissions. The federal government defines the requirements.

For domestic emission-reduction projects (compensation projects) the FOEN may issue tradable attestations. Compensation projects must be registered in advance and the emission reductions achieved must be accounted for annually in a monitoring report. Attestations can only be issued for voluntary measures that go beyond legal requirements and are not already otherwise supported. Those with compensation obligations can initiate projects themselves - in a slightly different form - but cannot receive attestations for them.

Obligation to compensate

Two different categories of actors are obliged to compensate for the CO2 emissions caused by them, in whole or in part:

Producers or importers of fossil motor fuels:

In 2020 at least 10% of the CO2 emissions caused by traffic must be compensated using domestic measures. The resulting surcharge for fuels may not exceed 5 centimes per litre.

Operators of fossil-thermal power plants, such as combined cycle gas plants (CCG):

Operators of fossil-thermal power plants are obliged to compensate fully for their emissions; at least half within Switzerland. The compensation projects must aim to cut domestic emissions at least by half. Power plants may only be approved if the operators enter into a compensation agreement with the federal government in advance.

Those obliged to compensate have several options available to fulfil their compensation obligations:

  • Issuance of attestations for compensation projects in Switzerland
  • Issuance of attestations for over-fulfilment by companies with a reduction commitment (for exemption from the CO2 levy) or a target agreement with the federal government
  • Taking into account of self-initiated projects to reduce emissions domestically.

Agency mandated to enforce CO2 emissions compensation requirements 

Article 7 of the CO2 Act requires that the federal government issue attestations for voluntary domestic emission reductions. The CO2 Ordinance sets out the requirements for the respective projects and programmes. The instrument of domestic compensation is primarily of importance to  fossil-thermal power plants and fuel importers.It makes a significant contribution to achieving national climate targets. The administrative office for compensation operated jointly by FOEN and BFE is the contact point for project developers, validators and those with compensation obligations.

Email: kop-ch@bafu.admin.ch

The administrative office for compensation conducts information events for project developers and buyers of attestations. They also provide information as required through a newsletter regarding news of CO2 compensation. More information can be found here:

Further information

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Last modification 24.04.2015

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