KliK Foundation

Legal basis

Paris agreement and Swiss CO₂ act

Last updated: April 2024

Paris Agreement

In December 2015, the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement. As a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997, it has been putting international climate policy on a new footing since 2021.

With the Paris Agreement, the global community agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Article 6 allows for States to cooperate to increase their ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, Article 6.2 facilitates bilateral cooperation if the participating states make binding arrangements for the concrete implementation of the Paris Agreement within a bilateral climate agreement.

Obligation of Switzerland

Within the framework of the Paris Agreement, Switzerland has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in comparison with 1990 levels by at least 50% by 2030. Switzerland plans to implement an as yet undetermined share of the required reductions abroad through the use of the collaborative approaches defined in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Switzerland can count the reduction achieved in the partner country towards its emission target without it being considered as double counting, because the partner country must post the reduction in its greenhouse gas balance sheet as an emission under the bilateral climate agreement (so-called “corresponding adjustment”).

Bilateral climate agreements

The 13 bilateral climate agreements entered into by Switzerland are characterised by a lean architecture that grants the signatories the privilege to implement national regulations with a minimum of requirements and procedural provisions. Accordingly, a joint decision-making committee will not be set up.

The authorization of activities under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement and the transfer of emission reductions always require the approval of the competent authorities of both countries under national law. In particular, the agreements ensure the environmental integrity of the supported climate protection activities by eliminating the double counting of emission reductions. They also ensure that climate protection activities contribute to sustainable development and that human rights are upheld.

Swiss CO₂ act

The CO₂ Act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which has entered into force in 2000, was revised by the Swiss parliament in March 2024. With the revision that comes into force on 1 January 2025, the Federal Council can demand that up to 90% of transport-related CO₂ emissions have to be reduced by means of climate protection activities certified by the federal government.

The exact quota and the more detailed provisions are governed by the CO₂ Ordinance, which now also has to be revised by 1 January 2025. We anticipate that an average of 40% of transport-related CO₂ emissions will have to be reduced between 2025 and 2030 by means of climate protection activities. Therefore, the KliK Foundation needs to reduce CO₂ emissions by around 40 million tonnes within the current decade.

Around half of these greenhouse gas reductions will come from climate protection activities in Switzerland’s partner countries with a bilateral climate agreement. Each of these agreements are authorised by Switzerland and one partner country and the resulting emission reductions are certified by both countries. The certificates that qualify as Internationally Transferred Mitigation Services (ITMOs) under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement are issued in the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry. The agreements ensure that countries do not double count their emission reductions.

Swiss CO₂ ordinance

The continuously revised Swiss CO₂ Ordinance contains implementing provisions for the CO₂ Act. A notice of enforcement governs the certification of projects and programmes to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration, both of which can be used in the offsetting of motor fuels.