Third round of Swiss-EU negotiations on linking of emissions trading systems

Brussels, 26.10.2012 - The third round of negotiations between Switzerland and the European Union on the linking of their emissions trading systems took place in Brussels on 26 October 2012. The aim of the future agreement is to create a joint market for carbon emission allowances.

Both Switzerland and the EU operate emissions trading systems (ETS). Based on these systems, companies are obliged to surrender an emission allowance for each tonne of CO2 they emit. These emission allowances are tradable within each of the two emissions trading systems. The aim of this trading is to ensure that greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by the companies that can do so as cost-effectively as possible. From 2013, Switzerland's ETS will be based on its completely revised CO2 Act, which was passed by the Swiss parliament last year. Switzerland's ETS is largely compatible with its EU counterpart.

The linking of Switzerland's ETS with that of the EU would guarantee that Swiss companies could access a large, liquid emissions market as both the buyers and sellers of emission allowances. This would enable, among other things, the minimisation of potential competitive distortion between the Swiss companies in question and their European competitors.

At the third round of negotiations on 26 October 2012, the delegations exchanged views on the possible content of such an agreement. In addition to the two subareas of stationary installations and air traffic, the agreement will also cover cooperation on technical issues, e.g. in relation to the Emissions Trading Registry.

The negotiations also provided an opportunity for the discussion of important developments in the two emissions trading systems. The EU reported on the recently announced link between its system and the Australian ETS, and Switzerland explained the progress made in the development of the legal framework (CO2 Ordinance) for the post-2012 period.

The delegations agreed on a timetable for the next stage of the process, according to which the leaders of the delegations will be able to complete the negotiations over the course of the next year.

The EU delegation was led by Jos Delbeke, Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Climate Action, and Bruno Oberle, Director of the Federal Office for the Environment, headed up the Swiss delegation.

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