Statement by the President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga

30.11.2015 - Leaders Event at COP 21 UNFCCC, Paris

Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Climate Action is urgent

Climate change poses a significant threat to the welfare and health of all our societies and economies. The glaciers in Switzerland have lost over 12 percent of their volume since 1999. This will have a major impact on the seasonal availability of drinking water, and on agriculture and power generation. Furthermore, Switzerland is experiencing more frequent rock fall events and landslides which endanger our transport links and infrastructure in the mountains. Major investments are already needed to adapt to these threats. But global warming is, of course, a global challenge that has negative impacts on the well-being of people all over the world.

Mr President, Excellencies,

This is why Climate Action is urgent and must be universal. Switzerland has come to Paris to support the adoption of a new climate change agreement, that will:

  • limit the increase in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius;
  • boost the climate resilience of all countries;
  • and be fair for all Parties in the context of their evolving responsibilities and capabilities.

Paris as an opportunity for a shift towards climate-proof investments

Paris provides us with an opportunity to build a solid global foundation for a shift towards climate-proof investments. To facilitate this aim, the new Agreement must establish a stable global framework. A bifurcated regime with different provisions for industrialised and developing Parties will not succeed in limiting the average increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees. The Agreement must contain the same obligations and rules for all Parties and be enduring. This will create clear framework conditions at international level for the decades to come. Private and public investors need such strong framework conditions so that they have the planning certainty they need to invest in climate-proof assets. Only an Agreement that is binding for all Parties in the same way and has a common rules-based foundation will unite all countries in a transformation into low carbon economies and resilient societies.

Mr President, Excellencies,

To ensure that the potential of the new climate Agreement to be adopted here in Paris is exploited to the full, it must be legally binding, dynamic and fair. This will build trust and create a positive momentum for all Parties.

In relation to mitigation, all Parties must communicate a clear, transparent and understandable nationally determined mitigation commitment every five years. The successive mitigation commitments of each Party must be more ambitious than its previous efforts. This will allow for stable investment frameworks. The current INDCs are not sufficient to limit the average increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius. The adoption of five-year cycles for the Parties, during which they will update their mitigation commitments and the progression of their ambitions over time, will gradually put us on the 2-degree path. Furthermore, the Parties must be informed by scientific developments, and the Agreement must set a clear direction of travel that is consistent with the most recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We need to set a collective target of reducing global emissions to 40-70% of 2010 levels by 2050 and of achieving net zero emissions before the end of the century.

In relation to climate finance, the involvement of all countries in the mobilisation of climate-friendly investments is crucial. This will lead to policy frameworks enabling climate-friendly investments and more targeted international cooperation and support.  Support for countries in need is crucial. Hence, all Parties must mobilise domestic resources in accordance with their capacities, and all Parties that are in a position to do so must provide support to the Parties who need it.

In relation to adaptation, planning and cooperation are central to boosting resilience to climate change, and all Parties must be involved in this process. Again, the most vulnerable Parties, in particular, must be supported in their efforts.

Finally, the new Agreement must provide for transparency and enhance the accountability of each Party in the implementation of the new Agreement. A common rules-based foundation is essential to demonstrate the translation of international engagements into national climate policies. And it is crucial that the individual efforts of the Parties be combined to present a global response to climate change. Hence, the new Agreement must build a common and robust transparency regime, apply the same rules for calculating and tracking the emissions of all Parties, and set international standards for market mechanisms.

Switzerland's engagement for climate change

Switzerland has come to Paris to adopt an Agreement that fulfils this ambition. It has announced an ambitious commitment on climate change, and is willing to intensify its cooperation at international level with a view to reducing global emissions and increasing the climate resilience of all Parties.

Early this year, Switzerland communicated that it intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030. This target puts Switzerland on an emissions pathway which is in line with scientific recommendations. Per capita emissions in Switzerland are below the global average and will continue to decrease significantly. The intended emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2030 will be achieved, in part, through the acquisition of carbon credits from international mechanisms based on high environmental standards. This will enable Switzerland to contribute its fair share to the global reduction of greenhouse gases despite the limited availability of short-term cost-efficient mitigation potential in the country itself. Switzerland has also set itself an indicative long-term goal for reducing emissions by 70-85 percent of 1990 levels by 2050. It intends to do this in part, again, through the use of carbon credits from international mechanisms.

Furthermore, Switzerland more than tripled its public climate finance between 2009 and 2014, and remains committed to mobilising its fair share of the targeted USD 100 billion per year by 2020. Switzerland believes that support for adaptation is important, particularly in the most vulnerable countries. Therefore we have allocated over 50 percent of our climate finance to adaptation.

Switzerland will formalise its entire pledge of USD 100 million to the Green Climate Fund by the end of January 2016 at the latest, and has already made its first contribution. We strongly urge other Parties to do the same. Support for the countries most in need is crucial. Therefore, Switzerland will also increase its annual contribution to the Least Developed Countries Fund by 75 percent and provide USD 6.25 million by 2018.

Mr President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is time to act. Here in Paris, we must adopt a legally binding, ambitious and rules-based climate Agreement for the decades to come that will serve the well-being of all our societies. Together, and only together, we can take action to protect our climate for future generations.

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Dernière modification 30.11.2015

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