Compensation projects abroad

Countries can count reductions achieved abroad towards their emission reduction targets. The Paris Agreement replaces the flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. Switzerland campaigns for clear international rules and draws up bilateral agreements with interested host countries.

International framework: Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement permits emissions reductions achieved abroad to be counted in addition to domestic measures. The reductions in emissions must be supplementary, must promote sustainable development in the host country, and cannot already have been claimed by another country.

Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides two options for transferring foreign emissions reductions (Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes, ITMOs). Countries can define the modalities jointly on the basis of bilateral or plurilateral agreements (Art. 6.2). There is also a multilateral mechanism under the supervision of the Paris Agreement (Art. 6.4), which issues certificates for emissions reductions. The rules for implementation are still being negotiated internationally after the Parties failed to reach an agreement at the climate conferences in recent years. In order to gain experience in the implementation of bilateral agreements, the Confederation has launched pilot projects together with the Climate Cent Foundation.

Implementation in Switzerland

According to the total revision of the CO2 Act, up to a quarter of the reduction target of 50 % by 2030 compared with 1990 should be achieved abroad. This reduction should be brought about by the fuel importers subject to the obligation to offset emissions. Eligible international attestations must meet the requirements of both the Paris Agreement and the CO2 Act.

The statutory reduction target for 2020/21 should be achieved with domestic measures only. However, companies that are exempt from the CO2 levy may count a limited amount of foreign certificates towards their reduction obligation. These are issued in accordance with the international procedure set out in the Kyoto Protocol for additional emissions reductions that can be proven to have been achieved through climate protection projects in developing countries (Clean Development Mechanisms, CDM). These certificates must also meet the quality requirements of Annex 2 of the CO2 Ordinance

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Last modification 30.12.2020

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