Linking the Swiss and EU emissions trading schemes

Linking the Swiss and EU CO2 emissions markets would be beneficial for both environmental policy and the economy. An Agreement was signed on 23 November 2017 in Bern. It was approved by the Swiss Parliament on 22 March 2019. It must now be ratified by Switzerland and the EU before it can enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Switzerland and the European Union (EU) operate separate emissions trading schemes. The EU scheme (EU ETS) includes approximately 11,000 stationary installations, which emit around 2 billion tonnes of CO2. The EU ETS also includes aircraft operators, which account for emissions of around 60 million tonnes of CO2. More than 50 companies, which emit a total of around 5 million tonnes of CO2, participate in the Swiss ETS.

Switzerland would like to link both systems and create a joint CO2 market. To achieve this, emissions allowances would have to be mutually recognised in a bilateral agreement.

Switzerland believes that environmental policy and the economy would benefit from linking the two systems:

  • The potential for reducing emissions at a lower cost is greater in a larger market.
  • A larger and more established market is more liquid and keeps prices stable.
  • Switzerland’s small market makes trading and pricing difficult.
  • European and Swiss emission rights would be equal in terms of fulfilling the statutory requirements.
  • Swiss companies could operate in the same emissions market as their business partners in the EU.
  • Access to the EU market would give Swiss companies greater flexibility in meeting their CO2 targets.

The EU is also interested in linking its ETS with the Swiss ETS. Switzerland and the EU have been in negotiations to link their emissions trading schemes since 2011. The technical negotiations were concluded in January 2016 with the initialling of an agreement. The agreement was signed on 23 November 2017 in Bern. The EU approved the Agreement at the beginning of 2018, and the Swiss Parliament approved it on 22 March 2019. It must now be ratified by Switzerland and the EU before it can enter into force on 1 January 2020.

Including aviation in emissions trading

When the Agreement comes into force, it should also integrate aviation into the Swiss ETS.
The EU has included aviation in the EU ETS since 2012. However, flights taking off or landing outside the EEA are excluded from the EU ETS. It also currently excludes flights to or from Switzerland.
Further information about the inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS can be found on the European Commission website:

Further information about the negotiations between Switzerland and the EU can be found here:

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Last modification 22.03.2019

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