Emissions trading system (ETS)

The emissions trading system (ETS) makes it possible to reduce the total amount of emissions covered. The emissions are thereby reduced where it costs the least to do so. In this way, climate protection goals can be achieved cost-effectively. Aircraft operators and greenhouse gas-intensive companies participate in the ETS.

The ETS is a quantity control instrument applying the “cap-and-trade” principle. It specifies a maximum amount of newly available emission allowances in the system (“cap”) that is reduced each year. Some of the emission allowances are allocated free of charge, and some are auctioned off. Each year, participants in the ETS must cover their emissions with emission allowances. These emission allowances can be traded freely, and can be used to cover own emissions or sold to other ETS participants.

ETS for installations

The Emissions Trading System restricts the emissions produced by the industrial installations that are responsible for the most greenhouse gases. To do so, the total available amount of emission allowances are defined in advance, and thus the maximum greenhouse gas emissions of all ETS participants.

ETS for aviation

Flights within Switzerland and from Switzerland to the European Economic Area (EEA) have been subject to the Swiss ETS since 2020. Aircraft operators must surrender emission allowances in the amount of the CO2 emissions from these flights.

Emissions Trading Registry

Emission allowances, emission reduction certificates and attestations can be recorded in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry (for Switzerland and for companies that participate in emissions trading).

Linking with the EU ETS

Linking the Swiss emissions trading system with that of the EU is beneficial for both environmental policy and the economy. An agreement to this end between Switzerland and the EU came into force on 1.1.2020, and the two emissions trading systems have since been linked.

Further information

Last modification 30.12.2020

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