KliK Foundation

Legal basis

Paris agreement and Swiss CO₂ act

Paris Agreement

In December 2015, the 21st Conference of the Parties to the 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 provides for States to cooperate to increase their ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, Article 6.2 allows for bilateral cooperation if the participating states make binding arrangements for the concrete implementation of the Paris Agreement in a bilateral climate agreement.

Obligation of Switzerland

As part of the Paris Agreement, Switzerland has committed itself to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Switzerland intends to achieve a portion of the necessary reductions abroad through the use of the collaborative approaches defined in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Switzerland can count the reduction effort achieved in the partner country against its emission target without double counting, because the partner country must account for the reduction effort in its greenhouse gas balance as an emission under the bilateral climate agreement (“corresponding adjustment”).

Bilateral climate agreements

The 11 bilateral climate agreements (as of November 2023) entered into by Switzerland are characterised by a streamlined architecture that grants the contracting states the right to implement national regulations with a minimum of requirements and procedural provisions. Accordingly, no joint decision-making committee will be set up.

The authorisation 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 greenhouse gas mitigation activities by eliminating double counting of emission reductions. They also ensure that the greenhouse gas mitigation activities represent a fee for sustainable development and that human rights are respected.

Swiss CO₂ act

The Swiss CO₂ act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which has been in place since 2000, currently only formulates climate protection targets up to 2024. Following the rejection of the total revision of the Swiss CO₂ act in the referendum on 13 June 2021, the Federal Council launched a slimmed-down audit in September 2022 to extend the climate protection obligations undertaken under the Paris Agreement until 2030. This is currently being debated by Parliament. The Swiss CO₂ act for the years after 2024 is expected to come into force in 2025.

The plan is to continue and expand the carbon offset obligation for fuels. There is an obligation to offset 15% of transport-related CO₂ emissions with climate change activities in Switzerland, as well as an obligation to reduce at least 20 million tonnes of CO₂e by 2030 through climate change activities in Switzerland’s partner countries with a bilateral climate agreement.

Under the bilateral climate agreements, the emission reductions resulting from a greenhouse gas mitigation activity authorised by both countries in the partner country are certified. Internationally transferred mitigation benefits (ITMOs) allowances under Article 6.2 of the Paris Agreement are issued in the Swiss Registry. The agreement ensures that countries do not double count their emission reductions.

Swiss CO₂ ordinance

The continuously revised Swiss CO₂ ordinance contains implementing provisions for the Swiss CO₂ act. An Implementation Notice governs the certification of projects and programmes to reduce emissions and increase sinking capacity that are eligible for carbon offset on fuels.