2050 net-zero target

In response to the special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming of 1.5 °C, the Federal Council decided in August 2019 that Switzerland should aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The net-zero target is also the subject of the Glacier Initiative submitted in November 2019. In its 2022 autumn session, Parliament passed an indirect counter-proposal to the Glacier Initiative, in which it anchored the net-zero target (‘Climate and Innovation Act’).

From 2050 Switzerland aims to emit no more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than can be captured and stored in natural and technological sinks ('net-zero target').

To reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a substantial reduction in emissions from the building sector, transport and industry is necessary. There are emissions that are unavoidable or very difficult to avoid mainly from the agricultural sector and certain industrial processes such as cement production or waste combustion. These residual emissions will need to be offset by natural and technological storage means (i.e. sinks that absorb and store carbon). The long-term climate strategy shows how the target of net-zero emissions can be reached by 2050.

Indirect counter-proposal to the Glacier Initiative (Climate and Innovation Act)

The net-zero target is also the subject of the Glacier Initiative, which was submitted in November 2019. The Glacier Initiative seeks to enshrine the net-zero target in the Constitution.

Within the scope of Parliamentary Initiative 21.501 from the Environment, Spatial Planning and Energy Committees (ECPEC-N), Parliament has drafted an indirect counter-proposal to the Glacier Initiative. The Federal Council welcomes this indirect counter-proposal, which aims to set the 2050 net-zero target, together with interim targets and indicative values for the buildings, transport and industry sectors, in a new law, the ‘Federal Act on Climate Protection Goals, Innovation and Strengthening Energy Security’ (‘Climate Protection Act’). This law also stipulates that all businesses must achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. For the central Federal Administration, this goal is to be achieved by the earlier deadline of 2040. The measures for achieving these targets are to be specified in each case in the CO2 Act. The Climate Protection Act provides for these stages.

The Climate Protection Act was passed by Parliament in the autumn session. The SVP has filed a referendum against it, and the corresponding referendum will be held on 18 June 2023.

Further information

Last modification 31.03.2023

Top of page