It is possible to implement net zero by 2030! Institutional politics failed to show us a way out of the climate crisis and we therefore had to tackle this task ourselves. The Climate Action Plan presents technically feasible and socially just pathways to reach our demand of net zero by 2030.
The Executive Summary is also available in German, Italian and French. Click here to go to the other languages: climatestrike.ch/cap
In 2015, Switzerland, together with almost all other countries in the world, signed the Paris Agreement, which obliges the contracting parties to limit global warming to well below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial times (1850), with efforts to stay below 1.5 °C. The IPCC special report from 2018 made It quite clear, that the 1.5 °C target is of the utmost importance if we do not want to slide into an unstoppable feedback-loop of warming beyond human control. With our current course, however, we are heading towards a warming of 4 °C or more, which would lead to catastrophic consequences such as famines, water shortages, more frequent and stronger storms and forest fires, wars over dwindling resources, rising sea levels and other environmental disasters.
In August 2019 the Federal Council has set the target to reduce Switzerland's net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 which is not only insufficient but completely rejects the scientific reality. It is delusional to believe that we could stay within our carbon budget with this goal.
According to the IPCC, the atmosphere can absorb, calculated from end-2017, no more than 420 Gt of CO2eq if we want a 66% chance of staying below 1.5 °C. Since around 42 Gt of CO2eq is emitted globally every year this budget is expected to be used up in less than eight years as of 2021. A linear reduction of GHG starting this year would lead to net zero worldwide until the year 2035.
Given that affluent nations carry more historical responsibility and have more financial capacity, they must decarbonize faster and financially support poorer nations to do so. Consequently, a country like Switzerland must reach net-zero GHG emissions at the latest by 2030. Figure 1 visualized this challenge. The figure compares the business-as-usual GHG reduction to the net-zero goal by 2050 of the Swiss Government and the necessary net-zero goal by 2030.
Figure 0-1: Various pathways to net-zero consumption-based GHG emissions for Switzerland.
What is the CAP?
The CAP is an ongoing project aiming to find a joint solution to the climate crisis today and create a common vision for our society of tomorrow. It does not claim to be a flawless master plan. We tried to be as comprehensive as possible, but the CAP also tolerates a certain degree of overlapping or slight contradiction between different measures. Nevertheless, the most important measures have been worked out in great detail.
We discuss a very broad selection of possible policy measures. Which exact combination of policies would be best in terms of impact and social feasibility would need to be further studied. We may also have missed out on some excellent measures despite everything. The target of 1.5 degrees and net zero by 2030 for Switzerland remains non-negotiable. But we are always keen to discuss the path to reach this goal. We simply cannot afford to take too long. Some of the measures in the plan can be implemented immediately from 2021. And they must be.
The CAP is addressed to the people. We want to take all parts of society on the journey to search for the right solutions with us. The different actors in the emitting sectors, other instances in our society and individuals are invited to give feedback, make new suggestions for policies and join the project of initiating a just transition for climate ambition. We therefore also expect criticism towards the plan to be constructive instead of polemical so that we can actually move forward together instead of getting lost in ideological trenches. We are open for improvement suggestions.
Aim of the CAP
Many have questioned the feasibility of net zero by 2030 and have criticized the target as unrealistic or even dangerous. The CAP is an answer to those criticisms. It presents pathways to reach this goal in a technically feasible and societally just way.
Since the very first school strikes for climate, schoolchildren have also been repeatedly criticized for demanding a safe future without developing solutions to this existence-threatening crisis themselves. Even though it is tantamount to state failure that this task is left to students after institutional politics has failed to address it properly during three decades, we had no other choice in the end but to deliver the policy measures which the Swiss parliament should have passed before most Climate Strikers were even born.
Our plan shows that with existing technologies and within a democratic structure, it is possible to implement net zero by 2030.
Who wrote the CAP?
The Climate Action Plan was written collaboratively by young Climate Strikers, scientists and experts from various different fields with an elaboration budget of CHF 0. All experts volunteered their time and contributed in their private capacity. The policy recommendations were developed in twelve topic related working groups. This plan is in every way a collaborative project of dozens of people. Therefore, we do not see the sometimes heterogeneous form and content as a weakness but rather as a strength.
How to Read the Plan
The whole CAP comprises over 300 pages split into 12 chapters containing a total of 138 policy measures. The executive summary should provide a good overview of its content while remaining rather unspecific. Readers can then delve deeper into certain points or into individual chapters which interest them. In the summary the sources are not indicated for reasons of readability and clarity. The detailed Climate Action Plan is to be seen as the source of the executive summary. In the detailed version the external sources used are indicated. The entire plan can be viewed on www.climateactionplan.ch.
The Project Continues
The CAP needs to be discussed with as many people as possible (for example within Climate Assemblies). With outputs from constructive discussions we expect to collect a variety of ideas worth thinking about and develop them into new concrete measures. For us it is important that also the people working in the fields where change is needed, are part of the discussions.
Building up from this CAP we already plan to release a second version of it. This second version should include the criticism from the population and new ideas that came up. All together we hope to give the next version a broadly supported base and make a more accurate and more visionary plan to overcome the climate crisis and to shape a future we all want to live in.
List of Contributors
The following list includes all contributors to this plan. Their naming, as well as that of their organization or institution, does not directly imply support for the political content of the plan, but should disclose the knowledge base and expertise on which the plan is based.
We want to thank all those who sacrificed their valuable time and energy for this project from the bottom of our hearts.
‑ List of Contributors
Prof. Glaciology and
|Department of Geography, University of Zurich||Adaptation|
|Nicolay Sylvain||PhD in Physics||Adaptation|
|Felix Küchler||Medical Doctor||Maternité Désirée||Adaptation, Agriculture|
|Daniel Bretscher||Eidg. Dipl. Biology||Agriculture|
|Sonja Keel||PhD in Biology||Agriculture|
BSc Agricultural Studies /
MA Development Studies
|Miriam Leimgruber||MSc Agricultural Sciences||Soil Resources research group, ETH Zurich||Agriculture|
|Silva Lieberherr||MSc in Agricultural Sciences, PhD in Geography||Bread for all||Agriculture|
|Adrian Müller||Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL; Institute of Environmental Decisions IED, ETH Zurich||Agriculture|
|Julian Rogger||Department of Earth Sciences, ETH Zurich; Klimastreik||Agriculture|
Prof. Dr. Soil Science and
|Department of Geography, University of Zurich||Agriculture, Negative Emissions|
|Elmar Grosse Ruse||Dipl. Environmental Psychologist||WWF||Buildings & Spatial Planning|
|Jakob Schneider||Architekt MA FHNW SIA||Architects for Future||Buildings & Spatial Planning, Cross Sectoral Policies|
|Axel Schubert||Dipl.-Ing. Arch. / Stadtplaner||klimaverantwortungjetzt.ch||Buildings & Spatial Planning, Mobility|
|Anja Kollmuss||Affiliated Researcher Stockholm Environment Institute||Cross Sectoral Policies, Buildings & Spatial Planning, Industry|
|Patrick Hofstetter||PhD Environmental Sciences||WWF||Cross Sectoral Policies, Industry|
|Jevgeniy Bluwstein||PhD in Political Ecology||University of Fribourg||Economic & Political Structures|
|Beat Ringger||Former Director of Denknetz||Economic & Political Structures, Cross-Sectoral Policies|
|Lena Bühler||Klimastreik||Editorial Team|
|Andri Gigerl||Klimastreik||Editorial Team|
|Simon Imhof||MSc in Environmental Sciences||Klimastreik||Editorial Team|
|Jonas Kampus||Klimastreik||Editorial Team, Economic & Political Structures, International Collaboration & Climate Finance|
|Hanna Fischer||Klimastreik||Editorial Team, Education|
|Nico Müller||Klimastreik||Editorial Team, Energy Supply|
|Lorenz Obrist||Klimastreik||Editorial Team, Agriculture|
|Manuel Fischer||Bern University of Applied Sciences||Education|
|Manuel Lehmann||BSc in Community Development||Thinkpact Zukunft||Education|
|Patricia Schmid||MSc Human Ecology||Education|
|Léonore Hälg||PhD in Energy Politics||Energy Politics Group, ETH Zurich; Research Group for Renewable Energy ZHAW||Energy Supply|
|Felix Nipkow||Swiss Energy Foundation||Energy Supply|
|Jürg Rohrer||Prof. Ecological Engineering||ZHAW||Energy Supply|
|Stefan Schori||MSc in Engineering||Bern University of Applied Sciences||Energy Supply|
|Henrik Nordborg||PhD in Physics||Institute of Energy Technology, Ostschweizer Fachhochschule||Energy Supply, Education|
|Felix Güthe||PhD in Chemistry||Basel 2030||Energy Supply, Negative Emissions|
|Maya Tharian||Klimastreik||Financial Sector|
PhD in Management and
|Bern University of Applied Sciences||Industry|
|Regina Betz||Prof. Energy and Environmental Economics||Center for Energy and the Environment, ZHAW||Industry|
|Jürg Füssler||Dr. sc. nat. ETHZ||INFRAS||Industry|
|Axel Michaelowa||PhD in Economics||Int. Climate Policy Research Group, University of Zurich; Perspectives Climate Group||International Collaboration & Climate Finance|
|Jürg Staudenmann||MSc in Environmental Eng. / MAS Development Coop.||Alliance Sud||International Collaboration & Climate Finance, Negative Emissions|
MSc Life Sciences, Natural
Managing co-Director BFH
Energy Storage Centre
|Bern University of Applied Sciences||Mobility|
Prof. Climate Protection
|Climate Policy Group, ETH Zurich||Mobility|
|Emanuel Peter||Student MSc Computer Science||Klimastreik||Mobility|
|Lucie Petetin||MSc in Engineering||Klimastreik||Mobility|
|Caspar Thut||BSc UZH||Klimastreik||Mobility|
|Sven Scherrer||Electrical Engineer||Engineers for Future||Mobility, Energy Supply|
|Niels Jungbluth||PhD in Life Cycle Assessment||ESU-services GmbH|
Mobility, Energy Supply,
|Cyril Brunner||Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, ETH Zurich||Negative Emissions|
|Victor Garcia||PhD in Theoretical Biology||Negative Emissions|
|Matthias Hafner||Klimastreik||Negative Emissions|
|Jonas Hostettler||PhD in Chemistry||Eltern fürs Klima||Negative Emissions|
|Jonas Lechot||MSc in Plant Science||Negative Emissions|
|Marc Novara||Negative Emissions|
|Hakon Reichardt||Fossil Free||Negative Emissions|
|Brigitta Mathys||BSc in Physics||Negative Emissions, Economic & Political Structures|
Vision – A Message from the Future
Many people think we will live on like we are today forever. But reality is different. There will be big changes anyways. We need to choose. Either we decide passively for a world full of suffering and problems or engage actively for a world full of regeneration and solutions. We now want to show you one possible future.
Imagine waking up in the morning and stepping out of your front door on a summer day. You are breathing in clean and fresh air. You are looking around and although you live in a big city, you see many trees and plants that seem to embrace the buildings around you painting the city in their different colors and keeping it cool. You listen to the birds and the insects humming around you, but you do not hear the loud noise of the planes that you were used to hearing at first when waking up. Normally you go to work by bike. Ten years ago, you were working as an assistant engineer at Zurich airport. When the Corona crisis hit the world, planes were grounded, and you feared to lose your job. Later many planes never got back in the air because of climate mitigation measures. But at that point there was no need to be afraid of becoming unemployed anymore. There was the possibility to get professional retraining to work in many different other fields, you could choose from, that are compatible with an ecological future. In the beginning it was hard to change the work you were used to, but when you started working as an engineer for technologies that take CO2 out of the atmosphere you felt enlightened and saw much more sense in your work and also it was a new challenge. In the long run the retraining was a great opportunity. A colleague of you had similar experiences. He wanted to do something completely different because he was fed up with sitting in front of a computer the whole day long. He decided to retrain in the field of agriculture and now he is organizing a big permaculture farm, working in and with nature the whole day. He feels much better and healthier now. Further he is happy to return to the countryside where he grew up. There are many permaculture farms or farms with other methods that do not need any fossil fuels but more human power, creating jobs and working together with nature rather than against it. Because these techniques are more efficient as well, we need to import much less food from other countries. Because of regulations meat and fish are now rather rare. There were many people complaining about it in the beginning but now people got used to it and there were many medical studies showing significant decreases in cardiovascular diseases.
Not only the food we eat makes us healthier but also the way we travel. Memories of your holiday last spring make you smile. You made a three weeklong bike journey together with your daughter and your partner, who came to Switzerland as a climate refugee after fleeing from locust plague in Somalia. Biking can now be done safely as the car-free streets do again belong to the pedestrians and bike drivers. Social life expanded into the streets and the squares; people are talking to neighbors they did not care about before. Getting to know other cultures no longer requires emitting large tons of greenhouse gases. All bigger cities in Europe can now be reached by fast, modern and affordable night trains and a high-speed rail network. Your daughter is already talking about all the countries she wants to explore once having grown up.
The energy for the night train network comes from the solar panels all over the place: from big solar farms and from all rooftops.
The solar panels have even new designs nowadays so that they look like normal facades and roofs but just have the benefit to produce energy. Your electricity bills have gotten less and less expansive as you were producing more and more of your own energy.
When you think back to the times before the government started to act, you sometimes observe yourself shaking your head thinking about how blind you were back then for the crisis we were facing. When you got interested in the topic and informed yourself better, you started to see the urgency of the crisis we are in, the changes that were done, seemed just logical. In general, many measures brought significant changes to people’s lives. The twelve month long parental leave allowed you and your partner to build up a close relationship with your daughter without having to worry about anything else. You started to like thinking about ways to change our way of life and making it better and happier in many ways. You started getting more involved in politics yourself and you were not the only one. When change came and people knew about the science behind the climate crisis, everyone wanted to get involved and to decide how this new world should look like, which is now much easier with only six working hours per day.
It is not only Switzerland that has gone through enormous changes in the last decades. After the Corona pandemic there was a huge wave of changes all over the world and it was almost surreal how countries learned to work together and help each other because of the simple need for collaboration to get out of the climate crisis we are in all together.
Driving through a forest on your way to work you smile and you are grateful for the people fighting for this ecological revolution – that is how some people call it and all the people that made the ideas reality to protect you from the crisis. You are grateful for them having made the right choice.
The climate crisis is in its complexity and scope an unprecedented challenge for humankind. It requires fundamental changes in all areas of the social, political and economic system, and this in the shortest possible time.
While the other chapters of the Climate Action Plan deal with solutions in specific emission sectors, this chapter takes care of all policies that are of great importance for several areas. For, just as the underlying problems are often rooted in different sectors, some solutions are useful for different sectors. The cross sectoral policies therefore cover a broad spectrum, ranging from taxes to financing instruments and sales platforms. Like this, the chapter aims to restructure the buildings sector and, at the same time, create a huge new workforce for the transition to net-zero in all other areas. It will drastically reduce consumerism and simultaneously create the basics for a more circular economy. And not only will it propose bold changes but also outline the instruments needed to finance them.
What all cross sectoral policies have in common is that they take an across-the-board approach and propose particularly fundamental changes.
Over the last decades, ground transport got faster and faster. On the one hand, people cover longer distances with no effort. On the other hand, energy use and the emission of GHG are enormous. Thus, in Switzerland, traffic accounts for 32% of all GHG emitted inland. The private car has shaped our landscapes, our communities and how and where we live and work. The immediate availability of goods by a mouse click is about to change our cities and the way we consume fundamentally. No step back in time, but a step towards mobility that serves people and saves the environment is desperately needed.
Strategy: The goal in ground transportation is a traffic revolution with a substantial reduction of the motorized traffic volume in Switzerland. The remaining vehicle fleet will be electrified or decarbonized. The use of sustainable means of transport (biking, walking, public transport) rather than individual motorized traffic will be highly encouraged by the policies concerning ground transport. Imagine fresh air (less pollution), healthy people (more activity), lively and green surroundings where people meet (more space for social interactions).
Supporting policies: The reallocation of existing infrastructure, referring to private motorized transportation, will enhance the traffic revolution. Moreover, the concept of smart multimodality will lower the barriers to switching from a private car to a joint system, to bike, foot or public transport. Thus, a close-mesh of carsharing offers and a hub-system has to be established. At multi-modal hubs the different means of transport are merged, in order to realize an efficient and convenient transfer. In order to break the vicious circle of road building and increase in road traffic, the financing of planning and extending the national road network will be suspended.
To reach net-zero by 2030, private motorized mobility must be reduced drastically. Hence, a steering levy will be introduced dependent on vehicle weight and driven distance per year. An adjustment of speed limit will be added to reduce the energy consumption of cars. On the other hand, climate conscious forms of mobility, such as infrastructure for pedestrians and bikes, will be supported and prioritized. Hence, biking to work will become safer, faster and due to the tax deductions more attractive. Cities will become car-free, giving more space and fresh air to people. By 2025 the sale of internal combustion engines is prohibited and by 2030 fossil fuels as well as fossil electricity will be reduced to zero. At the same time, gross vehicle weight and maximum power for passenger cars will be limited to 1.5 t and 100 kW.
Today people seem to know destinations abroad better than the beauty that lies in front of their door. Flying less, does not mean to stop the adventure. A new form of tourism has to be established that includes the way to the destination as part of the journey. Discovering foreign cultures will get even more exciting, whilst being rare and special. When it comes to business trips, a replacement by video-conferences does not only serve the environment but means less stress and more time for other things.
Strategy: Given that aviation is entirely reliant on fossil kerosene today, and there are no technological alternatives to liquid fuels, emissions reduction can be achieved in two ways: synthetic fuels generated from renewable energy or a reduction in aviation altogether. Replacing fossil kerosene with synthetic fuel is the most promising long-term path. Unfortunately, today's quantities of kerosene can most likely not be replaced with synthetic fuels before 2040, and even that would be a very ambitious project.
To reach the 2030 net-zero goal, and without relying on negative emissions or compensation, there is no alternative but to avoid all fossil kerosene by 2030 and therefore drastically reduce use of aviation. To avoid a hard cut and encourage synthetic fuels, we envision a quota system leading up to a ban of fossil kerosene by 2030.
Supporting policies: We propose additional policies to ease the transition and make it more socially fair and acceptable. The first is a dismantlement of any tax breaks and subsidies for aviation, such as tax-free kerosene. Flights that are easy to avoid, such as short-haul flights, private jet flights and other forms of luxury aviation should be banned. We consider specific instruments like a Frequent Flyer Tax and a maximum limit on aviation emissions. Further, non-CO2 heating factors must be compensated. Finally, we want to see active support for the modal shift from aviation to alternatives, however, it is important to only support the shift and not consumption itself. To complement these measures, we propose some general efficiency measures that could reduce emissions by a few percent on their own.
Social impact: This means that most jobs in the aviation industry will gradually disappear. Generally speaking, climate action means, that many industrial branches will disappear as new sustainable businesses appear. As the current economic system relies on growth and is ill equipped to deal with shrinking enterprises, this could mean that many workers lose their jobs and become unemployed. This is why governments need policies to support the workers caught in the transition to an economy compatible with the climate goals. Accompanying measures will be taken to support professional reintegration.
Possible concerns: One might worry that the proposed measures will simply cause people to take flights from airports in neighboring countries. However, we expect that other countries will also implement similar policies, and if not, Switzerland needs to lead by example. The same holds for economic disadvantage because of less flights in and out of Switzerland.
Another concern is that people instead will take their cars with internal combustion engines (ICE) to travel to other countries. This issue might be solved by supporting alternatives like high-quality train networks as well as by increasing the tax on gasoline and benzine.
Traffic is not only caused by bringing people from A to B. The transportation of goods takes up a big share in the traffic sector. Therefore, the way we consume and the journey our goods take plays a crucial role in the discussion about the mobility sector. By only focusing on inland traffic, we do not get the whole picture. Both travelling abroad and importing goods have to be included. Thus, water transport is looked at besides air and land transport, even if on the first glance it seems to be neglectable in a landlocked country like Switzerland.
Strategy: There should be a decrease of goods imported by ship, and the goods that are imported should follow ecological and social standards. Moreover, it is crucial that consumers have the possibility of taking well-funded buying decisions. And last but not least, the same rules that apply for private cars need to apply for private ships.
Buildings & Spatial Planning
In 2030 our vision of a climate-neutral future has brought people together and brought them closer. Moving closer together - which was initially unfamiliar to some and had to be learned again - has proven to be extremely enriching. This movement closer together does not only convey meaning in the face of the existential crisis situation and thus brings joy, but also changes the quality of how we meet. In the future our daily life will be much less marked by the often loud, ruthless, and rushed drive than it is today and rather be a life based on closeness, neighborly help, solidarity-based organization, and resilient local social relationships. The distances will be shorter, the exchange more meaningful. We will have learned to listen and to share needs. And we will be sharing much more: whether it is knowledge and skills in neighborhood organizations, whether it is a drill and a bike for carrying loads in sharing-centers and loan centers, whether it is experiences and deliciously smelling apple pies in the neighborhood café. Of course, we will not have been able to create an ideal world free of disputes, problems or contradictions, but one in which we work together to find innovative solutions, not only technically, but also socially, organizationally and culturally. Together, we will have created the conditions for a social coexistence that, in the energetic sense, favors a life that is frugal, i.e. "sufficient". Our buildings will have been converted to be climate-neutral, our cities will give us more space for staying, exchange, play and leisure on site and in the streets, which will have been more extensively greened to provide cooling. Our villages will have also rediscovered and developed their potential. They will actively contribute to our climate-neutral life, especially by taking advantage of the lower density - whether for the production of vegetables, fruit and food or the solar roof harvest. In many ways, we will have oriented ourselves on what many people have already successfully tried out: more solidarity and less competition. More joint action without suffocating in complete social control. We will have once again appropriated much of what was once left to anonymous markets: from solidarity-based agriculture to cooperative or non-profit housing - through which we will find an efficient, space-saving use of our living space - all the way to using traffic-calmed streets as common property, as our "living rooms" outdoors, which we will maintain together. All this will be liberating and beneficial. It is going to be a joy to be part of a human society - with our own competences.
In order to achieve this vision, the focus is on a number of key objectives in the field of buildings and spatial planning. With regard to buildings, the primary goal is to work with the existing building stock instead of continuing the previous growth. The retrofitting rates have to be increased significantly in order to make all buildings carbon-neutral. With regard to spatial development the potential of the existing space has to be activated in such a way that it enables a climate-neutral social life. Since a moratorium on new buildings is planned in the chapter on cross-sectoral policies, the goal of "climate justice" is also a big priority in the area of housing policy.
Industry & Service Sector
The industry sector causes emissions firstly due to the consumption of fossil fuels and secondly to industrial processes that emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The most fossil fuel intensive sectors are cement production, chemistry and food processing, which together account for over 90% of these emissions. Only in the case of high-temperature process heat (above 120 °C) is it currently not possible to replace all applications with renewable heating systems, as CO2 is sometimes indispensable for the process.
Most emissions related to industrial processes come from cement production and the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons for cooling and air conditioning units. Meanwhile, the service sector contributes mainly through heating emissions as well.
In the past few years, emissions in Swiss industry have fallen, mainly due to the outsourcing of CO-intensive activities. In other words, they have not really been reduced, but merely relocated.
The instruments that are currently trying to cover this sector are highly insufficient in their effectiveness. The Swiss Emission Trading System (ETS) has so far created hardly any incentives for emission reductions according to the Swiss Federal Audit Office. Also, the target agreements, with which major emitters can exempt themselves from the regular CO2-levy, do not lead to more emission reductions, but rather subsidize business-as-usual.
In order to become compatible with a climate-friendly and safe future, the industry and service sector need to take their responsibilities and decarbonize rapidly. We finally need to be able to consume the products and services we need without worrying that our consumption is fuelling the climate crisis. At the same time innovation of sustainable technologies and materials and their implementation must be promoted.
The transformation of this sector relies heavily on certain broader policy measures which are covered in other chapters of the CAP. The most important ones are the moratorium on new infrastructure, the prohibition and replacement obligation on fossil heating systems, the general greenhouse gas pricing and the border carbon adjustment.
In addition to those, we propose seven sector-specific measures. Firstly, we propose a ban on the production, import and use of products using synthetic substances with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) > 50 (meaning they are 50 times more climate damaging than CO2). For applications that are not able to get clearance for new substances on a short term, such as medical applications, a levy of 500 CHF/t CO2eq is charged.
Secondly, all companies that produce additional direct emissions that are not already covered by the other sector policies have to develop and regularly update net-zero action plans to fully decarbonize. By 2030 all net-zero action plans need to be implemented, otherwise their operation license is revoked. For the implementation of uneconomic measures both financial and technical support for process and product innovation can be provided. At the same time, a Net-Zero Technology Program should help companies achieve measures which lack technical feasibility today. In order to achieve a quick diffusion and because the fight against the climate crisis must be a joint effort, patent protection of these new technologies will be limited.
Furthermore, the Swiss ETS is adjusted to be in line with the 2030 net-zero target. Beyond 2030 it will be transformed into an efficient market-based instrument to finance negative emissions technologies (see chapter on negative emissions) to neutralize the unavoidable residual emissions left for certain key materials and goods.
It is foreseeable that the decarbonization of the energy system, even with consistent efficiency and sufficiency measures, will lead to an increase in electricity demand, for example through the transition to electromobility and the use of heat pumps to supply heat to buildings. Because almost every other country will face a similar situation in the coming years, our goal should be to cover our additional electricity demand entirely with domestic renewable energy (RE).
Assuming a decline in mileage due to efficiency and sufficiency measures in the mobility sector and an increased renovation rate in the building sector we expect an additional electricity demand of 32.3 TWh per year by 2030 which is an increase by almost 50% compared to today’s electricity generation. Further expansion of renewable energy after 2030 will be necessary to phase out of nuclear energy.
Exhausting the full development potential for hydro energy and biomass as well as half the efficiency potential in power usage and a third of the wind power potential until 2030, 16.4 TWh remain to be covered by photovoltaics on roof areas, facades and other existing infrastructure.
If no or insufficient measures are taken in the buildings and mobility sector, the demand to be covered will be correspondingly higher. However, even this demand can be met by domestic PV installations. Consequently, complete decarbonization is left solely as a matter of will rather than technological feasibility.
This also applies for storage (both short- and long-term), where the necessary technologies like different types of batteries, pumped and electrothermal storage, compressed air storage or power-to-gas, are already well known and applicable at scale. A forced expansion of PV systems in the mountains and wind power would further reduce the seasonal storage requirements.
By decarbonizing our energy system, we additionally make ourselves independent of oil and gas imports on which Switzerland has spent 252 billion over the last 40 years. In the future, this added value can remain at home and instead of flowing abroad can finance thousands of meaningful jobs in the renewable energy sector.
We propose a total of eight policy measures to foster renewable energy and storage capacity additions as well as to adapt the electricity tariff system to future production regimes. The centerpiece consists of a cantonal electricity certificate trading scheme. The scheme requires cantons to supply an annual quota of renewable electricity based on the canton’s population size. Certificates can be traded between cantons that surpass their designated target and cantons that fail to do so. The scheme is a simple tool to incentivize cantons to scale up their renewable energy generation while offering them the flexibility to decide how to do so considering their different potentials and conditions.
Secondly, building owners - whether public or private - are obligated to build solar PV installations on their roofs within 10 years if their roofs are deemed suitable. The size of the installation needs to be adapted to the size of the roof not to own electricity needs. It thus accounts for the fact that we need to rapidly scale up the solar PV capacity to achieve the 2030 target and that the potential for rooftop solar PV installations is very high in Switzerland. The solar PV electricity generation is remunerated in a cost-covering way so that homeowners obligated to build a solar PV installation do not incur additional cost. The policy is financed through an increase on the existing consumer surcharge for renewable energies. Additional financing options (e.g. interest-free loans) may be provided by the cantons, the federal government or mandated finance institutes, such as cantonal banks, a green investment bank, or a climate fund.
These two policy measures are supported by six accompanying measures: Competitive auctions for power purchase agreements for large-scale RE installations, a simplified and shortened permitting process, a support program to train additional personnel, an abandonment of grid charges for storage technologies, an active promotion of open-space solar PV and a new electricity tariff structure.
Agriculture & Food System
Agriculture is a main emitter of greenhouse gases (6.08 Mt CO2eq per year., 15% of the total emissions of Switzerland) and thus a strong contributor to the current climate crisis. At the same time, agricultural production is highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly in the developing world. We see huge potential for Switzerland to render its agricultural production, food consumption and trade of agricultural commodities environmentally and socially more sustainable.
We envision a food system that can supply present and future generations of all people in Switzerland with enough healthy, nutritious and sustainably produced food while guaranteeing a high degree of food self-sufficiency.
The upsurge in international agricultural trade has turned tropical forests, pastures and meadows into croplands, threatens biodiversity and significantly increases carbon-intensive international transport. Switzerland strongly relies on agricultural imports, including palm oil and animal feedstuff. About the same amount of CO2eq produced in Switzerland is produced abroad for agricultural related imports. Additionally, Switzerland is both a hub for international agricultural commodity trade and home to many international agricultural corporations (headquarter or branch office in Switzerland).
Switzerland must necessarily be held accountable for any negative side effects its consumption patterns entail in the realm of environmental protection, human rights and labor standards abroad. The Swiss government should revise both planned and existing trade agreements that cover agricultural products so that they adhere to strict and enforceable environmental and social standards. Further there should be a ban on the production, usage and speculation of agrofuels majorly produced from edible crops and thus undermine global food security. Also, Swiss-based international agricultural corporations must democratically elaborate plans to outline how it intends to cut down its emissions and Swiss trading companies must legally commit to only buy and sell agricultural products whose production and distribution inflicts minimal possible damage upon the environment. Additionally, speculation with agricultural commodities and food needs to be banned.
What we consume, depends on different aspects. It depends among others on our knowledge about the product and its background, it depends on what is available at the food retailers and on the price of the product. To ensure a sustainable diet and reduce food waste we elaborated different measures that can change our consumption patterns. Among these measures are an adjustment of industry norms to have less food rejected even if its quality is high, food labelling and pricing according to the environmental impact of it, education measures, the support of sustainable alternatives for animal sourced food and a cross sectoral nutrition strategy developed by different departments within the Swiss government (FOPH, FOAG, FSVO and FOEN).
Over the past years, Swiss farmers have undertaken considerable efforts to comply with several challenging regulations that seek to render agricultural production more sustainable. However most environmental targets are not met and technical solutions currently available are insufficient to cope with the needed target. It is necessary to address environmentally and socially unsustainable domestic agricultural production structures.
It is particularly the livestock breeding (about 85% of all emission in Swiss agriculture), the abundant use of fertilizers and fossil fuels combustion that contribute to the climate crisis. The limitation of the livestock population to locally available feedstuff and limited imports of animal sourced food could reduce GHG emissions from food consumption in Switzerland by more than 50 percent and contribute to healthy diets. Ruminants should be fed from grasslands only and feedstuff imports should be abandoned. Cropland should be used to produce food directly edible by humans. Agricultural production should primarily be guided by the ecological framework conditions (climate, soil, feed no food, topography etc.) as well as the efficient production of sufficient and healthy nutrition to reach a high degree of food self-sufficiency.
Agricultural soils must be managed sustainably in order to assure a long-term production potential. Soil carbon must be preserved or enhanced. To further address the issue of overfertilization Swiss agricultural policy must enhance nutrient use efficiency, i.e. the amount of fertilizers applied should meet the plants´ demand for macro- and micro-nutrients. A national cap for synthetic fertilizer application in Switzerland (e.g. ammonium nitrate) would help realize this overarching objective. Finally, the standard mineral oil tax should be extended to agricultural machinery to mitigate CO2 emissions that are produced from the combustion of fossil fuels in agricultural production. Switzerland must also empower its farmers and agricultural workers both economically and legally. Jobs in agriculture must be amenable to the Swiss labor law. Consultancy and training in environmentally sustainable agricultural production and alternative income sources in agricultural zones should be promoted in order to support those farmers that embark on the envisioned transformation process of Switzerland´s agricultural sector and/or grapple with short- and medium-term loss of earnings caused thereby.
NETs (negative emission technologies) capture CO2 from the exhaust gases of processes that are difficult to substitute or extract CO2 from the atmosphere - this can be done purely technically or throughout plants. Many of these technologies are already being tested and used today. However, the resulting negative emissions are infinitesimal. Nevertheless, there are huge potentials for the safe final storage of CO2 - according to the IPCC report SR 1.5 certainly 2000 Gt, with current annual emissions of less than 40 Gt CO2. The safety of these deposits is assumed to be very high. The necessary technologies and reservoirs to remove CO2 in large quantities from the atmosphere already exist today.
Furthermore, the necessity of NETs is undisputed in order to limit global warming to the 1.5°C Celsius foreseen in the Paris Climate Convention. Thus, all 90 climate scenarios collected in the IPCC Report SR 1.5, which are compatible with the 1.5 degree target, require negative emissions on a large scale, with a start between 2020 - 2030. In addition, almost all current climate scenarios are based on the fact that massive amounts of CO2 will be removed from the atmosphere in the second half of the century in order to stabilize global warming.
Nevertheless, NETs do not allow "business as usual" under any circumstances, since CO2 removal and storage is expensive and energy-intensive - NETs should therefore be reserved for emissions that are difficult to avoid. Examples of such areas are aviation, agriculture and cement production. NETs are therefore not an alternative to reducing emissions, but a practically indispensable supplement.
This is a brief description of the seven NETs examined and their storage options, followed by an overview of the corresponding potential, costs and side effects (figure 2).
- Direct Air Capture and Storage
With Direct Air Capture, CO2 is extracted from the ambient air by means of technical equipment. The CO2 thus extracted in Switzerland is safely stored (sequestered) in the earth's crust. Switzerland is expected to have a capacity of 2.68 Gt. The storage of CO2 in soil has been carried out for 40 years, so far about 0.26 Gt CO2. It is considered very safe.
- Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage
By burning biomass (e.g. plant waste, wood residues, etc.), heat or electricity can be generated and the CO2 emitted from the exhaust gases can be stored in the ground, as with DACCS. This allows carbon to be removed from the carbon cycle and safely stored.
- Carbon Capture and Storage in Industry
In industrial point sources such as waste incineration plants or cement production, CO2 can be filtered out in a targeted manner due to its high concentration and stored in the ground as with DACCS.
- Enhanced Weathering
In the process of Enhanced Weathering, crushed mineral rocks are distributed on fields. By crushing the rock, it reacts more quickly with the CO2 bound in the rainwater - its natural weathering process is thus accelerated. Washed into the sea via water, the CO2 is stored there as carbonate rock for a long time. This process thus also counteracts ocean acidification.
- Reforestation, afforestation and enhanced usage of wood
Through reforestation, targeted planting of the forest and increased use of wood in buildings, up to 3 Mt CO2 can be stored annually.
- Vegetable carbon
It is also possible to convert fast-growing plants, or waste from food production, into vegetable carbon under great heat and then store it in the soil. The waste heat can be used directly or converted into electricity.
- Soil Carbon Sequestration
Changes in agricultural land use can also increase the carbon content of soils, which would also improve soil quality.
Figure 0-2: Potential and costs of different NETs in Switzerland
Today the price for NETs is two to three times higher than in the overview above. However, due to the technological learning curve and the increased use, the price would decrease significantly. In order for NETs to enable net zero greenhouse gas emissions at the lowest possible cost in 2030, it is therefore essential that they are used, expanded and promoted now. Any further postponement of NETs places an additional burden on future generations and Switzerland would be less able to compensate more than its domestic emissions at the global level if this were necessary. However, since the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is currently practically free of charge, there is no economic incentive today to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Accordingly, without determined political support, NETs will not be available quickly enough to have the required significant impact on Switzerland's CO2 balance.
The Paris Climate Convention obliges countries to bring their financial flows into harmony with the objectives of the Paris Climate Convention. (Article 2.1.c of the Paris Convention).
Financial intermediaries help the oil industry to raise capital, which in turn helps it to remain profitable despite competition from renewable energies. Today, with the adoption of the Paris Climate Change Accord and thanks to alternative renewable energy sources, the fossil fuel business should not be as profitable in future - but it is valued and treated as such by financial intermediaries. This contrasts with the concern that many of these securities are stranded assets and that the global economy is heading for a carbon bubble. The market is not simply neutral. Risks are wrongly assessed by the financial market, because many financial institutions have not built up any expertise on the climate crisis internally and therefore assess risks related to fossil fuels too low. The opportunities offered by alternative investments are also misjudged. Many financial institutions have long denied their responsibility to the climate and society. Financial intermediaries are not only passive vessels through which money flows, they can actively control where the money goes and therefore have a great responsibility and obligation. Unfortunately, very few financial institutions do this.
The Swiss financial center, especially Zurich and Geneva, are among the most important in the world and Switzerland is one of the world's most important asset managers*. Our financial center therefore has particularly strong leverage in international climate policy and the global economy. This is an opportunity for Switzerland to reduce its foreign emissions and a duty to the world, because if we do not do so, the whole world will never be able to achieve the Paris targets. It is in keeping with the polluter-pays principle to demand action from the Swiss financial center and regulators now. Compared to the ECB, the comprehensive reforms of the EU regarding Sustainable Finance and the proactive measures of the Bank of England, Switzerland is the bottom line of Europe, especially with regards to the size and importance of its financial center.
When talking about Sustainable Finance, the credit side is often neglected in comparison to the investment side. A few big banks have many capital investments abroad, but smaller banks, such as cantonal banks, mainly grant loans in Switzerland. Here, too, banks are not only passive vessels through which money flows, they can also actively lend money. On the financing side in general, more focus on climate related risks can be done by domestic banks.
In summary, it can be said that the financial center has the power to drive forward the transition of our entire economy, both here in Switzerland and globally. And with great power comes great responsibility, as is well known.
The measures discussed in Chapter Finance use the following instruments:
Divestment: Capital is withdrawn from emission-intensive parts of the economy, such as oil companies.
Investment: Capital is directed specifically into climate-friendly sectors or companies that are necessary for the transition of the entire economy to a carbon-neutral economy.
Engagement: If CO2-intensive companies are not able to drive change internally, they will not be able to survive on the market in the long term. It is preferable that the management in these areas actively approaches the change on its own initiative. However, management is often reluctant to face the facts and develop new strategies. Shareholders can actively exercise their voting rights and influence to drive internal change in such parts of the economy.
Transparency: A major problem is the lack of transparency about the climate-damaging effects of financial flows or information about financial flows in general. Customers, both private and institutional, are not well informed and cannot make conscious decisions, even if they want to invest their money climate consciously. Such information and transparency provide the basis for informed customers to express their demand for sustainable financial products. This information also provides the basis for science, which can only make meaningful analyses in this way.
Economic and Political structures
The inherent logic to pursue profits – through the externalization of social and environmental costs - in a competitive global economy has led to a correlation between economic growth (that reflects profits) and GHG emissions (that reflect environmental externalities) at a global scale. Green growth suggests that we can continue growing the production of goods and services in a capitalist system while reducing environmental externalities of production. As discussed above, there are limits to this approach – due to the need to remain competitive and to generate profits, and due to the fact that even a service economy cannot be fully dematerialized. An alternative approach to green growth as a solution to the environmental crisis is the absolute reduction of the quantity of produced and consumed goods and services in a given period of time. This is usually called a degrowth economy, whereby degrowth entails the dematerialization of the economy through controlled shrinking of economic activities that require material inputs, such as fossil fuels, cement, metals and minerals, chemicals, rare earth elements, etc. Degrowth is impossible in capitalism as we know it, since capitalism is built on the pursuit of aggregate economic growth.
As Figure 0-3 shows, Swiss economic growth (expressed through the indicator GDP) has been substantial, while the Swiss CO2 emission footprint – expressed in consumption-based emissions – actually outstripped GDP growth. In other words, instead of decoupling economic growth from the GHG emission footprint ("green growth"), we see here a development that even outstrips recoupling. Consumption-based GHG emissions have grown faster than economic growth. In sum, we have seen neither green growth nor degrowth so far in Switzerland.
Figure 0-3: Change in per capita CO2 emissions and GDP, Switzerland
In the little time that we have to achieve net 0 GHG emissions by 2030 in order to remain within 1.5 degrees Celsius, the Swiss material economy (as measured with the GDP metric) would have to shrink in absolute terms so that the remaining carbon budget is not used up before 2030. The main challenge ahead is to dematerialize the economy by decoupling economic activities from the present and future welfare of people so as to stop growing our material throughput and consume less goods (most of which we do not need for our well-being), all without leading to an economic collapse. A set of regulations, including bans on certain goods, will be necessary to eliminate undesired economic activities at a large scale and quickly. Yet there are important political economic structures that would need to be overcome. Most importantly, an alternative is needed to offer people material well-being without the necessity to work in industries that fuel the climate crisis but fund state welfare and retirement programs through their productive activities. Only a labor that is liberated from the need to participate in the generation of perpetual economic growth can act as an agent of change towards a radical transformation of the economy to meet the 1.5°C climate target.
Several policies are needed to ensure a just transition towards a decarbonized economy. The Public Program for Green Jobs (ProGJ) is created to guarantee and support the establishment of new jobs in climate-friendly sectors such as the construction of renewable energy plants. It establishes support structures for workers in those sectors that need to be deconstructed such as the aviation industry. Furthermore, a network of local climate workshop in each municipality is founded. Their purpose is to provide equipment for loan, offer repair services and organize further training and courses. Climate workshops support households, municipalities, neighborhoods, special purpose associations, clubs, SMEs, etc. in ecological adaptation processes and in sustainable everyday life and habitat design. A good life within environmental boundaries requires additional measures. The working time is reduced to four days a week and 24 hours (six hours on four workdays) per week until 2030 to lower the economic material throughput, guarantee good jobs for all and to enjoy the common fruits of labor. A society not being based on economic growth and the accumulation of capital needs to drastically extend the care economy to guarantee employment. Furthermore, a 12 month long paid suspension for childcare per parent should be introduced.
A solid foundation for a non-growth-based society requires the conversion of shareholder owned companies into democratically run foundations and cooperatives. These are controlled by the employees, suppliers, customers and others being affected by the operations of the business.
The CAP must thus be built on more, not less, democracy. While capitalism has historically contributed to the climate crisis, democracy - if strengthened - can be an antidote to it. In short, we must reclaim our democracies, and make them fit for purpose for the immediate and immense challenge we face. An important challenge lies in overcoming the limits of a democratic framework that is based on elections and parliamentary representation. In such an arrangement, the influence of each individual is insignificant, whereas those who wield economic, social and cultural resources, have control over media and so on, are in a very strong position. Several measures make up the basis for widening societal democratic control. This includes a redefinition of property where private property of social relevance may only be used to the extent that it does not cause any damage to the general public, in particular with regard to environmental protection and climate warming, and private property of social relevance must be made available to the general public if this is necessary from a superordinate perspective (e.g. because of urgent ecological and social concerns). Furthermore, a tax on large assets over CHF 1 million is imposed and the abolition of the lump-sum taxation is put in place. The fundamental principle of democracy is the direct participation of all members of society. To guarantee democratic rights to all citizens of all origins and over the age of 14 is a necessity.
International Collaboration and Climate Finance
Switzerland accepts its global climate responsibility; Swiss (climate et al.) policy and action is based on science and Switzerland’s (total / historic) climate impact. This implies the inclusion of consumption based GHG emissions, the investments and direct business operations in fossil fuel extraction projects, deforestation operations and other environmentally destructive projects.
Climate justice is the main guide for Switzerland’s international climate policy. Climate justice means choosing a political approach to the climate crisis that meets ethical criteria, not only with regard to future generations, but also in the historical-geographical context: Some are responsible or profit, others feel the consequences or have to pay for them. It is therefore not acceptable to consider the dramatic consequences of global warming as a purely technical environmental problem. So climate justice as a concept includes not only the generational (justice) question but also global distribution and equality issues. This means that large emitters such as Switzerland must contribute much more to the global reduction of man-made greenhouse gases than the countries of the Global South who are responsible per capita for far fewer emissions.
In terms of climate financing, global climate justice means that the obligation of the industrialized countries under the Paris Climate Convention to jointly provide USD 100 billion per year for climate protection and adaptation measures in developing countries must be scaled down to Switzerland on the basis of global climate responsibility. This would result in a contribution of CHF 1 bn annually. However, climate finance must not be at the expense of development cooperation. Supporting the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the Global South in the fight against climate change is not the same as fighting poverty or reducing inequality. The reduction of greenhouse gases (mitigation) and protection against the effects of progressive climate change (adaptation) can complement development cooperation, but never replace it.
Currently, Switzerland and other countries in the Global North would like to offset their emissions abroad, mainly in the Global South. This, however, gives countries the false impression that they can continue to delay the elimination of their domestic GHG emissions. On the other hand, the effects of many offsetting projects are questionable or do violate human rights. GHG emissions shall therefore not be externalized through purchasing of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMO) and/or compensation abroad.
Free trade agreements are a main contributor to the climate crisis through deforestation, the destruction of local agricultural practices and the violation of human rights. The application of climate justice needs to include the realm of trade agreements. The respect for human rights and international agreements on environmental protection take precedence over the provision of other international treaties, particularly trade agreements. In case of doubt, it suspends the application of provisions in trade agreements. Switzerland should also advocate for the adoption of this concept in international law.
While the CAP states that the Swiss GHG emissions need to be reduced to net-zero by 2030, a similar legally binding target needs to be adopted on the international stage. The goal of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is to phase out fossil fuels globally through a legally binding agreement. “Non-proliferation” refers to the prevention of exploitation of new fossil fuel resources. The FF-NPT is based on the existing example of the Non-Proliferation Treaty of nuclear weapons which was negotiated in the middle of the Cold War. The big difference to the Paris Agreement is it being legally binding with member states having the tool to impose economic sanctions on a party violating the treaty.
The vision for climate education in Switzerland is to have a broad, fact-based debate on different pathways and specific solutions to the climate crisis. The public discussions should focus on how we want to create and live in a carbon-neutral world. Schools, media and government should make sure that reliable information is spread in an appropriate frequency and provide platforms for the debate. Thus, citizens will have an overview about the problems we have to tackle and what solutions exist, which is the basis for a constructive democratic process.
In order to reach this vision, adequate and relevant knowledge and competences are crucial. People must realize how climate change impacts their own life as well as the lives of their fellow human beings and their posterity. They must have the appropriate skills to actively and appropriately contribute to the societal task of reducing emissions. Lastly, they must also have developed the ability to actually apply their knowledge and skills. This is currently not the case. Despite numerous good initiatives and many committed actors, most people in Switzerland lack the knowledge, the competences and the attitude to make it possible to avert the impending severe climate crisis. Changes in our education institutions, means of educating the broad public and ways of bringing education into the industry will be needed.
Role of Schools
A praxis-oriented climate education as a fixed part of all curricula and levels is needed, focusing on climate-relevant competences and climate education as a cross-sectional issue. To be able to teach about the climate crisis in all subjects, all teachers in practice have to take part at atraining program.
Role of the Government
With an information campaign, the government and the FOEN are informing the population about the climate crisis and the need for action and explain how to solve the problem. The campaign is intended to make people understand that we need change if we want to maintain our quality of life in the future. It is intended to show the population in a positive way what the necessary changes mean for them, what enrichments they offer to the individual citizen and how much suffering can be prevented. In addition to general facts, the ability to act should also be conveyed. In its implementation, the confederation is guided by the findings of educational research.
In order to encourage action and participation of the citizens, the government should initiate local climate education projects open to the public. The aim is to reach people outside of the education system. There are already existing platforms which can be used to initiate education projects like local commissions or NGOs. Also, “Climate Assemblies” could be used as a platform to inform people about these kinds of projects. Numerous other organizations are already specialized in climate education. Their services can be used for these projects. The state should support these structures.
People should not only be exclusively educated in schools and through public services. Education needs to play an important role in the industry and the business world as well, as these environments offer the possibility to efficiently reach a big share of the population. To reach employees on all levels an environmental training should be held. This training will be practically based and connected to the employee’s field of work. Its goal is to raise the employee’s awareness of the influence of their firm on the climate and motivate them to take action.
Role of the Media
As the informal fourth power, the media can help to avert a climate catastrophe by making their contributions scientifically sound and appropriate to the problem. The treatment of the topic should not be reactively oriented towards sensational individual events, but should be constructively involved in the political process through a debate on ways out of the crisis.
We need to adapt to the changing climate. We have to do take adaptation measures and mitigation measures to make sure that we stay below 1.5°C. This will have significant consequences for our complete society. Adaptation will define the level of impact and risks we will sense in Switzerland and elsewhere. Adaptation is a process of transformation, reflecting that the current status quo will not secure a sustainable future, especially as we lack a sufficient progress to mitigate the causes of anthropogenic climate change. Transformational change means that we have to understand how our system works, to understand the history of that system, in particular around sources of control, legitimacy and knowledge, and challenge the assumptions that underpin existing structures and ways of doing things. Reproducing “solutions” without assessing what holds the current system in place may result in simply reinforcing existing failures and inequalities.
Adaptation to climate change is a complex and multi-dimensional process which involves many actors and is happening on a very local level. In times of crisis, the most marginalized people in society tend to suffer the most. It is somewhat different from mitigation in this respect. There are larger risks posed by climate change where even experts are unsure what the exact outcome will be. Damage to roads and railways caused by global heating, and the consequences for hydro- and nuclear power plants, could cost up to CHF 1 billion a year. Mountain regions will probably face problems with water management in agriculture and winter tourism. Water reservoirs for artificial snowmaking, agriculture and hydroelectric power plants could not be filled sufficiently anymore by melting snow. Swiss climate adaptation policy must account for individuals and the sectors most affected by climate change. In addition to the project of the Federal Office for the Environment, that we present in our chapter, we focus our policies on certain vulnerable groups and regions in Switzerland that will suffer earlier from climate change and have limited adaptive capacities. It is our aim that people who are negatively impacted by the changes do not have to bear adaptation costs themselves and get adaptive tools to cope with future situations.
- Health: focus on prevention. Build safe infrastructure for extreme weather events e.g. by building enough green cooling places in cities to prevent heat-stress and consider climatic changes in all future urban planning. Monitor vector-borne diseases and thus enable us to discover epidemics early enough. Build cleaner energy systems and promote safe public transportation and active movement – such as cycling or walking as alternatives to using private motorized vehicles – that reduce carbon emissions, cut the burden of household air pollution and create an incentive to physically exercise.
- Health: build resilience. Build resilience through enhancement of social capital. This involves the organization of a network of resources and strengthening of social linkages that can help to reduce vulnerability and increase community resilience for facing climate related physical and mental health issues
- Health: invest in the health system. Care jobs are green jobs. A green job contributes to preserving or enhancing the well-being, culture, and governance of both current and future generations. Caretaking as it is practiced in hospitals or retirement houses for example requires fewer resources and CO2eq emissions tend to be lower compared to sectors involved in the production or distribution of goods.
- Mountain regions: find alternatives to winter tourism. No further subsidies for short-term business models that fail to take into account environmental sustainability. Subsidies should have the goal of helping ski regions diversify their offerings towards whole year solutions to make them more resilient to temperature rises. This can be achieved through measures which really evaluate the social and environmental impact of a project.
- Migration: protection. Legal advice, guidance and the development of norms to support the enhanced protection of the rights of people displaced in the context of climate change related disasters.
The Climate Action Plan contains very different policy instruments: subsidies, directives, prohibitions, investments, trade systems, levies, quotas, information and education. Compared to other measures, bans and regulations are often received much more critically and politicians are usually afraid to demand them. Therefore, we would like to briefly discuss those here in more detail and explain why we consider them to be justified and necessary and not at all a restriction of liberty.
True liberty does not mean that one can simply do whatever they want, but that one is free in their actions as long as they do not restrict the liberty of someone else. Or figuratively represented: One’s freedom to swing one’s fist stops where another’s nose starts. Our personal right to freedom does not guarantee freedom at the expense of others.
Due to the climate crisis, hundreds of millions will lose their homes and be forced to flee, water shortages and resource wars will threaten, and by the end of the century, millions of people will lose their lives every year due to higher temperatures. So, the claim to freedom for a big, heavy car simply must wait in line. After all, not prohibiting something that destroys liberties to this extent is not liberal. It is also prohibited to drive at 150 km/h over a village road, because this would pose an unnecessary risk to human life. It is natural that rights come along with obligations and to ensure the right to life we are obliged not to endanger it.
Our everyday life is characterized by countless such regulations, which make a functioning coexistence possible in the first place. Without them our society would collapse. The climate catastrophe threatens to lead exactly to such a collapse, which is why fossil fuels and fossil infrastructure must be banned.
If politicians had listened to science 30 years ago, a catastrophic warming of more than 1.5 °C could perhaps have been avoided with less drastic measures. But today it is simply too late to ask for a gentle and gradual decarbonization.
Bans are also more honest than other measures by writing down the necessary end of the fossil age in legal paragraphs. They speak a clear language: zero emissions, not just less emissions.
Table of Policies
|Chapter 1: Cross Sectoral Policies|
|Policy 1.1: Moratorium on new infrastructure until 2030||No new conventional buildings and no new transport infrastructure would be built from 2021 to 2030. Planning and construction permits would be limited to retrofitting and renovating existing infrastructure and buildings. Exceptions could be made for: Infrastructure that is net positive (reduces more GHG than it emits during production), produces renewable energy (e.g. wind turbines), is helping decarbonize the mobility sector (e.g. bike lanes), produces vital new technologies for the transformation (e.g. batteries), represents urgently needed public infrastructure (e.g. schools).|
|Policy 1.2: Greenhouse Gas Pricing||Putting a price on CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHG) makes harmful activities more expensive and implements the "polluter pays"-principle and ensures true costs. The policy applies to all main greenhouse gases and all actors (including all companies). It should range from CHF 150-200 in 2021 and gradually increase annually by CHF 45 to reach CHF 525 in 2030.|
|Policy 1.3: Border carbon adjustment for a level playing field||To prevent leakage of emissions through outsourcing of carbon-intensive production, a BCA applies the same GHG-levy for imports as for domestic products. The BCA will lead to less consumption of GHG intensive products and reduce distortions.|
|Policy 1.4: “Matterhorn” The net-zero purchasing platform for public purchasing||Public purchasing (6% of Swiss GDP) must be limited to net-zero goods. A purchasing platform must be developed to give direct and competitive access to producers and sellers of net-zero products. The steep slope of the Matterhorn symbolizes the rapid exit envisioned by the CAP and Paris agreement.|
|Policy 1.5: Warranty periods against planned obsolescence||The legal warranty periods should be specifically oriented per product to the technically possible lifespan. For individual components subject to high wear and tear, the warranty periods are to be defined separately and spare parts are to be ensured in the long term beyond the product warranty period.|
|Policy 1.6: Climate impact assessments||Switzerland is establishing a climate and environmental impact assessment for all products and services. Part of these climate impact assessments should be all Scope 3 impacts. The information about the products and calculation of the scores should be in an open-database accessible by everybody to allow everyone transparent access.|
|Policy 1.7: Climate impact label||Based on the climate impact assessment, a climate impact label should become mandatory for all non-food-products (see chapter on agriculture) in Switzerland. This give consumers transparency and helps them to make well informed shopping choices as well as incentivize producers to lower their climate impact.|
|Policy 1.8: Replace commercial Advertising with Art and Education||To reduce consumption of climate damaging products and reduce unnecessary consumption in general, commercial advertising is banned from all public physical spaces. Instead the freed-up space should be used for art and education.|
|Policy 1.9: Climate Bank and Climate Agencies||For the transition of our infrastructure (housing, mobility, energy etc.) funding in large scales is needed. A climate bank would lend credits (dept capital) to so called climate agencies to enable these large-scale infrastructural projects. Climate agencies are e.g. architects, solar panel companies, etc. that are able to realize these infrastructural projects. A lot of the time the expertise and technology already exists but due to a lack of funding and demand, projects at the needed scale cannot be realized. This demand (e.g. for the replacement of oil heating systems) will go up rapidly and so will the needed funding. The money provided would be cheap debt capital that is offered to companies with affordable interest rates, since a public climate bank would not be profit-oriented.|
|Chapter 2: Mobility|
|Policy 2.1: Re-Prioritization of the traffic system||The constitution (Art. 88) should ensure that there is a re-prioritization in planning for the traffic carriers as following: 1. pedestrians, 2. bike, 3. public transport, 4. rail, 5. road, 6. air. It is crucial to have a network of safe, fast and direct connections on all levels for both pedestrians and cyclists.|
|Policy 2.2: Reallocation of existing infrastructure||Reallocating 50 percent of the existing infrastructure for private cars in public spaces to pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and car sharing until 2030, should lead to a traffic revolution and a higher quality of life.|
|Policy 2.3: Introduction of a new smart multimodality for people and cargo||The introduction of a hub-system all over Switzerland and a close-mesh of car- and bike-sharing offers can lower the barriers to switch from the private car to a way of combining different means of transport in the best way possible.|
|Policy 2.4: Carfree cities||From 2025 all major cities in Switzerland are car-free with only few exceptions. The already existing offer of public transport in the city and the proximity of everything allows it to cover all mobility needs by foot, bike and public transportation. The distribution of goods will largely be handled by cargo bikes.|
|Policy 2.5: Suspension of federal road construction||A suspension of federal road construction leads directly to a decrease in GHG emissions through less construction, avoids growth of supply driven traffic, leads to a switch to more climate-friendly forms of traffic in the long run and stops further soil sealing and the loss of green space.|
|Policy 2.6: Prohibition on the sale of fossil vehicle fuel and fossil electricity||The sale of fossil vehicle fuels and fossil electricity will be prohibited by 2030. This assures that only renewable energy will be used in mobility and provides an additional incentive for people to avoid purchasing new internal combustion engines (ICE) vehicles prior to 2025.|
|Policy 2.7: Prohibition on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles||It will be prohibited to sell new light vehicles (< 3.5t) with ICE by 2025. Heavy vehicles with ICE will be banned by 2030, supported by an interim quota system starting in 2025.|
|Policy 2.8: Prohibition of heavy and overpowered passenger cars||Reduce the number of large SUVs and overpowered passenger cars by limiting curb weight and maximum power to values of 1.5 t and 100 kW.|
|Policy 2.9: Environmental steering levy and road-use tax||A road-use tax will be levied individually, based on vehicle weight and kilometers driven to compensate for the shortfall in revenues from taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel with the switch to electric mobility.|
|Policy 2.10: Decrease the number of home delivery services and shifting to bikes||In order to limit the number of delivery vehicles and encourage group distributions, we suggest applying LSVA and PSVA not only to heavy vehicles but to all motorized delivery vehicles and introducing a fixed delivery tax of 15 CHF for each consignment (delivery by bike excluded).|
|Policy 2.11: Limitation of commuter deduction||A reduction of the commuter deduction coupled with a faveolization of foot, bike and public transport.|
|Policy 2.12: Reduction of maximum speed||The faster one drives, the more energy is consumed per kilometer. A reduction of maximum speed is as immediate and as cheap as no other measure.|
|Policy 2.13: Introduction of a monthly carfree-day||One car-free day per month, breaks up mobility-routines and allows people to explore other forms of mobility. The direct influence of this on overall CO2-emissions is low. Instead it aims at changing people's mindsets.|
|Policy 2.14: Stop the expansion of the Rheinhäfen in Basel||The expansion of the trimodal port basin 3 in Basel-City should not be pursued further. A climate-neutral society is not compatible with an increase in transshipment of fossil fuels, ores, stones, earths and consumer goods, which make up for 86% of the goods handled there.|
|Policy 2.15: Introduction of Standards for Shipping Imports||Introduction of clear environmental and social standards for goods imported by ship.|
|Policy 2.16: Regulating Motorized Boats and Ships for Private, Public and Commercial Use||Analogous to cars, the same steering levy will be charged, the sale of new internal combustion engines will be prohibited from 2025 and fossil fuel banned by 2030.|
|Policy 2.17: Cap on Tons of Imported in Switzerland||The quantity of imported products, most of them being transported overseas, increased dramatically. The goal of this policy is to reduce the quantity of imported goods and therefore emissions and overconsumption.|
|Policy 2.18: Imposing Standards for Ships belonging to Swiss Companies||Unethical and environmental damaging practices in shipping will be banned as far as possible from shipping companies based in Switzerland.|
|Policy 2.19: No Subsidies and Tax Breaks for Aviation||Today, there is a general VAT exemption for international flights and for most aviation-related services, aviation fuels are exempt from the petroleum tax and the CO2-levy and many airfields are financed with state funds. All such tax exemptions and subsidies must be cut immediately.|
|Policy 2.20: Alternative Fuel - Synthetic Fuel from Renewable Energy||Beginning in 2025, 10% of aviation fuel put into planes in Switzerland needs to be synthetic and produced by renewable energy. This quota will scale 25% a year to 100% by 2030.|
|Policy 2.21: Aviation Taxation / Frequent Flyers Levy||This policy taxes tons of CO2eq progressively, over a 4-year period. The purpose is to discourage frequent-flyers and generate revenues for research on synthetic fuel production or financing of other climate friendly ways of transportation.|
|Policy 2.22: Emissions Cap||This policy sets an absolute cap on emissions for the aviation sector and is thus the most direct measure to ensure emissions reduction.|
|Policy 2.23: Ban short-haul flights||In 2018, 77% of air passengers had destinations in Europe. We propose an immediate ban of domestic flights and all flights reachable within 8h with alternatives such as public transport. This radius would increase to 24h by 2030.|
|Policy 2.24: Ban private jets and other forms of luxury aviation||An average private jet journey emits times as much GHG as the same journey made by an economy class flight, and roughly 150 times more than an equivalent high-speed train journey. Therefore, we demand an immediate ban on private jets as well as unnecessary luxury aviation such as taxi-flights or heli-skiing.|
|Policy 2.25: Compensating other climate change effects besides CO2||High-altitude combustion does not just emit CO2 but also short-lived GHG, such as water vapor and particulates from jet exhausts. To ensure a net-zero goal, also the non-CO2 emissions must be compensated with negative emissions starting from 2030 in line with the polluter-pays principle.|
|Policy 2.26: General Efficiency Measures||There are many small improvements to reduce fuel usage such as electric taxiing, blended winglets and open rotor engines, better launch and arrival scheduling, reducing cabin weight, or optimal flight level and speed.|
|Policy 2.27: Support for people affected by the decline in aviation||Depending on the amount of synthetic kerosene available by 2030, the sector may experience a reduction of 90%. It is therefore crucial to make retraining available and provide financial aid to compensate for lost salaries. We also expect some effect on the tourism industry, both domestic and globally which requires accompanying measures.|
|Policy 2.28: Support for Alternatives to Aviation||A convenient public transportation and train system should be put in place to effectively connect major destinations by developing new night train rides, new railways, improving booking websites and improving bus networks.|
|Chapter 3: Buildings and Spatial Development|
|Policy 3.1: Ban and replacement obligation for fossil and electric heating systems||It is crucial to cut emissions by heating systems fast. A regulatory, legal requirement is needed. New fossil powered and direct electric heating systems are banned. A replacement obligation is introduced to make sure all existing ones are replaced in time.|
|Policy 3.2: Climate Fund||In order to significantly increase the total available funding volume for energy-efficient building retrofitting compared to today, a climate fund will be established. This is similar to the existing building program in Switzerland but will be supplemented by a few points (such as higher subsidy rates or a hardship clause).|
|Policy 3.3: Promotion of bio-based building materials||To promote production, supply chain and usage of bio-based construction materials, any new construction project in Switzerland must contain at least 50% wood or other organic materials like hemp or straw by 2022. This will lead to a downscaling of cement, steel, aggregate, limestone, and iron ore mining and production and also has a significant potential to store negative emissions.|
|Policy 3.4: Net-Zero compatibility of existing laws and building regulations||Building laws must be adapted at national, cantonal and municipal level to ensure building and retrofitting with climate-friendly and sustainable technologies and materials. In order to work out which regulations need to be adapted expert commissions should draw up proposals.|
|Policy 3.5: One-stop-shop advice centers||In order to facilitate the conversion to climate-compatible buildings, independent one-stop-shop advice centers must be set up for those wishing to retrofit, with information on technologies, measures, procedures, costs, financing and subsidies. Such advice centers must be set up in all cantons and larger cities, and where they already exist, they must be more strongly oriented towards climate compatibility.|
|Policy 3.6: Renovation incentives in rented buildings||In order to promote energy-efficient renovations that are not required by law and at the same time protect tenants against excessive energy costs, corrections must be made to the extent to which energy costs are passed on to tenants. These may include, for instance, higher subsidies, the right to rent reductions in the event of failure to retrofit, or more transparency regarding the energy related quality of the apartment.|
|Policy 3.7: Digital material archive and component market to support circular material cycles||In order to promote carbon-neutral and carbon-storing construction, instruments are needed that enable circular material cycles, i.e. the complete reuse of construction components and materials. For this purpose, construction components and materials exchange as well as a national construction components archive (linking the exchanges and providing an overview) will be established.|
|Policy 3.8: Soil index points for a transparent trade-off between soil protection and infrastructure development||The instrument of soil index points is implemented which classifies the soil by its quality based on certain criteria. This will ensure that new infrastructures are built primarily on low-quality or already degraded soils and high-quality soils stay available for the local production of low-carbon and renewable goods.|
|Policy 3.9: Implementation of Climate Impact Assessments for Planning, Projects & Stock Development||All current and future spatial planning projects must be proven compatible with the goal of net zero by 2030. This is achieved by using climate impact assessments. The same applies to significant structural developments within the framework of existing planning law. In this way, the climate impact of construction decisions is brought to the attention of decision makers and the public.|
|Policy 3.10: Creating frameworks for development processes towards climate neutral cities and communities||Municipalities provide the necessary resources for social initiation, local negotiations and design processes (rooms, material, possible information channels, possible remuneration, etc.). The aim is to implement climate-neutral cities, municipalities, communities, neighborhoods and public spaces.|
|Policy 3.11: Creating frameworks for walkable and livable “cities of short distances”||Municipalities and private individuals contribute to the "city of short distances" by creating suitable conditions on three levels: spatial planning (availability of land), infrastructure (attractive networks of footpaths) and supply (promotion of a variety of local services).|
|Policy 3.12: Designing development processes to develop the potentials of periurban and rural spaces||The transformation to a climate-neutral society must also include peri-urban and rural communities. Peri-urban and rural communities start community development processes, with the special focus on of climate neutrality and their specific spatial conditions.|
|Policy 3.13: Compensating the unequal workplace-share to create regions of short distances||The ratio of jobs to inhabitants or of employees to the working population is currently very unbalanced in large cities. The abundance of jobs in the city centers leads to a lot of commuter traffic. In order to rebalance this ratio, the large cities must impose a stop on the establishment of new jobs in city centers.|
|Policy 3.14: Establishing housing-policies to enable a “just transition”||Packages of measures are needed to prevent "low-carbon" gentrification. This includes the promotion of cost rent, a tenant protection clause, cost transparency for rents or regulations to curb unjustified rent increases.|
|Chapter 4: Industry and Service Sector|
|Policy 4.1: Ban on technical gases with high radiative forcing||An immediate ban on production, import and use of new products and equipment using synthetic substances with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) > 50 (100-year time horizon). A levy of 500 CHF/t CO2eq is charged for non-substitutable applications (e.g. medical applications). To avoid emissions of already installed F-gases a designated entity buys them a price of e.g. 200 CHF/t CO2eq and burns them for free.|
|Policy 4.2: From Emission Trading Scheme to CCS Financing Instrument||The emission-cap of today's Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) needs to be adjusted to the net zero 2030. After the cap reaches zero in 2030 the ETS would evolve into a market for negative emissions for any residual emissions.|
|Policy 4.3: Regulations for the Swiss Commodity Trade||From 2025 onwards, companies based in Switzerland will be prohibited from extracting fossil fuels, promoting them or providing financial, administrative or technical support for their production.|
|Policy 4.4: Net-zero action plans for all producing entities||All companies that produce additional direct emissions that are not already covered by the other sector policies have to develop and regularly update net-zero action plans to fully decarbonize by 2030. There exist 3 categories for measures: a) economically viable, b) technically feasibly but uneconomic and c) lack of technical feasibility.|
|Policy 4.5: Implementation of all net-zero ready and viable measures incentivized with early adopter bonus||By 2030 all type a) measures need to be implemented. Otherwise the company's operation license is revoked. To speed up the implementation companies get an early mover bonus.|
|Policy 4.6: Support to implement net-zero ready but uneconomic measures||For the implementation of type b) measures, a specialized entity provides both financial and technical support for process and product innovation in order to bring down the costs.|
|Policy 4.7: Net-zero Technology program||In order to implement net-zero plans, the creation of new technologies is required. Companies that depend on the development of type c) measures will be screened for their long-term prospects and then supported to become early implementers of these new technologies.|
|Chapter 5: Energy Supply & Energy Security|
|Policy 5.1: Cantonal electricity certificate trading system||The trading scheme requires cantons to supply an annual quota of renewable electricity. Certificates can be traded between cantons that surpass their designated target and cantons that fail to do so. The scheme is a simple tool to incentivize cantons to scale up their renewable energy generation while offering them the flexibility to decide how to do so.|
|Policy 5.2: Solar Obligation for suitable Roofs||Building owners are obligated to build a solar PV installation if their roofs are deemed suitable. Electricity generation is remunerated in a cost-covering way so that homeowners do not incur additional cost.|
|Policy 5.3: Auctions for PPAs for large-scale RE installations||Competitive auctions for power purchase agreements for large-scale renewable energy installations are held. Offering project developers fixed and stable minimum remuneration for the generated electricity will substantially reduce investment risks and thus attract additional investments in the domestic renewable energy market.|
|Policy 5.4: Simplified permitting process||Permitting processes for renewable energy installations need to be shortened and simplified to reduce waiting times and risks.|
|Policy 5.5: Support program to train RE personnel||Additional personnel for the planning (2500 jobs) and mounting (17000 jobs) of renewable energy installations will be needed to scale up renewable energy capacity additions at the required rate. At the same time this measure compensates for jobs lost in GHG-intensive industries during the transition. Additionally, military personnel could be deployed for the lower skilled job of mounting for short-term scale-up.|
|Policy 5.6: Abatement of grid charges for all storage technologies||The grid charges which still exist for most storage technologies are abandoned. The responsibility for grid stability and thus to invest in enough storage capacity is entirely placed on the grid operators who can pass on the incurred cost to the end consumers.|
|Policy 5.7: Support open-space solar PV||The cantons examine where open-space solar PV installations may make sense and adapt the Spatial Planning Act accordingly.|
|Policy 5.8: New structure of electricity tariffs||The current electricity tariff scheme with high and low rates will be abandoned for a more flexible market-based tariff structure reflecting the future production regime which will incorporate more intermittent renewable energy generation. We envision a tariff scheme with hourly electricity tariffs and capacity-based or network level-based grid charges to incentivize the consumption of locally generated electricity at peak production hours.|
|Chapter 6: Agriculture and Food System|
|Policy 6.1: Free trade Agreements||Swiss government must revise both planned and existing trade agreements that cover agricultural products so that they adhere to strict and enforceable environmental and social standards. New trade agreements for agricultural products should be reduced to a minimum and may only be concluded if they contain an environmental and human rights compatibility statement.|
|Policy 6.2: Ban for growing, using and trading agrofuels by 2023||The Swiss government must ban the production, usage and speculation of agrofuels altogether from 2023 onwards.|
|Policy 6.3: International agricultural corporations in Switzerland||These Swiss-based players must change fundamentally to render global agricultural production more sustainable. To this end, the Swiss government must democratically establish enforceable and binding frameworks and rules on climate mitigation by the end of 2021 for these companies. These plans must necessarily encompass the following aspects: Calculation of their GHG Emissions, detailed and consecutive GHG reduction plans and transparency.|
|Policy 6.4: International trade with food in Switzerland||The trade with agricultural products in Switzerland must adhere to strict environmental standards which align with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. Swiss trading companies must legally commit to only buy and sell agricultural products whose production and distribution inflicts minimal possible damage upon the environment.|
|Policy 6.5: Ban for Speculation with agricultural commodities and food||By the end of 2021 the Swiss government must thus ban all institutional investors and investment funds from the agricultural commodity market. Banks, pension funds and hedge funds may no longer retail financial products based on food commodities accordingly.|
|Policy 6.6: Cross-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy||The federal departments BAG, BLW, BLV and BAFU must work together on a cross-sectoral nutrition strategy. This strategy should guarantee both a healthy but also environmental- and climate friendly diet. Issues like reducing the meat and milk consumption are working for both, the environmental and the health aspect and need to be planned together with the auteurs active in agriculture.|
|Policy 6.7: Sustainable diet in public canteens||Public canteens should have 60% vegetarian or vegan meals by 2025 and 100% by 2030. The food must be seasonal and as local as possible.|
|Policy 6.8: Training courses for professional chiefs||Training courses about sustainable nutrition lasting several days should be obligatory for all professional chiefs and gastronomy-managers.|
|Policy 6.9: Support sustainable alternatives in proceeding sector and retailer|
Milk and meat proceeding industries should be supported in proceeding with more and more other foods with similar or different techniques and adapt the development of their products to sustainable food.
An independent political consulting institution for retailers should provide comprehensive information about the environmental impact of food and climate friendly alternatives. Grocers should be encouraged to change the food assortment towards a more sustainable diet.
|Policy 6.10: No subsidies for animal sourced food publicity||The public financing of sales promotion for ASF needs to stop immediately. Instead, this budget should be invested in the elaboration and improvement process of the national nutrition strategy.|
|Policy 6.11: Food, labelling and pricing with climate impact assessment||We need an accurate and transparent assessment of the climate impact of food. Such a labelling should in a first step be implemented for all food products and could further serve as a basis for a pricing policy.|
|Policy 6.12: Taxes on animal sourced food||We suggest higher tax rates on animal sourced food to reflect the true cost on the environment and society. ASF should be excluded from the reduced value-added tax. Possible measures are: higher tax, which will rise each year if a specific GHG aim is not reached. Taxing food concerning its average emission and the introduction of meat certificates.|
|Policy 6.13: Educate and raise awareness on food waste||The production of food, its impacts on the environment as well as the meaning of seasonality and locality needs to be part of the educational schedule in the Swiss education system at all levels.|
|Policy 6.14: New labeling for expiration dates||The food labels “sell until” and “best before” need to be communicated clearer to the consumer or be omitted completely|
|Policy 6.15: Adjust industry norms||A reduction of food waste from the agricultural production can be achieved by adjusting the industry norms so that less of the products are rejected due to size, form, color or other appearance quality standards not influencing food quality.|
|Policy 6.16: Promotion of initiatives for food waste reduction||Existing and the development of new Initiatives for food waste reduction should be promoted and up scaled at all stages of the food chain.|
|Policy 6.17: Updating the vocational education for farmer||The education should contain an understanding of the climate crisis, its consequences and impact on agriculture and the challenge of a sustainable and productive food system. Theoretical and practical excursion to learn about aspects of the climate crisis and sustainable solutions together with other actors of the food system should be integral parts of the vocational education.|
|Policy 6.18: Improving Farmers Rights and working conditions||Good salaries and working conditions need to be ensured. The peasant land law needs to be protected. The Swiss government should thus tackle the issue of high indebtedness which is rampant among Swiss peasants today. Farmers wife’s need to be insured, so that they have a guarantee for a pension and settlement in the event of divorce. To create a decent working environment for agricultural workers (also migrant workers), jobs in agriculture must be amenable to the Swiss labour law. Swiss agricultural policy must facilitate access to agricultural land for young farmers.|
|Policy 6.19: More people in the agriculture sector||Project to anticipate more people to work in the agricultural sector should be promoted. Access to agricultural land for young educated farmer should be facilitated. Green job programs and ZIVIs shall be used as well as new forms of participation in agriculture to distribute the workload.|
|Policy 6.20: Import of animal products and productivity||Only allow the import of animal products when produced under the same framework conditions as in Switzerland (feed no food, observance of maximum local stocking densities). Promote the concepts of “Feed no Food” and maximum stocking densities on an international level. Support the development of respective international trade regulations.|
|Policy 6.21: No subsidies for feed production on arable land||No subsidies or any other support for feed production on arable land except for leys in arable crop rotations.|
|Policy 6.22: No imports of animal feedstuff||Increasing tax on imported feedstuff until 2030 and then ban it from 2030 onwards.|
|Policy 6.23: Limit stocking densities for ruminants||Limit stocking densities for ruminants on permanent grassland to one livestock unit per hectare on average. The maximum stocking density may be adjusted regionally to take account of differences in local production potentials.|
|Policy 6.24: Limit populations of non-ruminant animals||Limit populations of non-ruminant animals to values according to the latest research or to numbers that can be supported with feedstuff from by-products of the regional food industry (not edible by humans) whichever number is lower.|
|Policy 6.25: Consider maximum stocking densities for new infrastructure||Consider (regional) maximum stocking densities when approving the construction of new or renovation of old infrastructure (e.g. stables), when granting credits or supporting any other long-term investments.|
|Policy 6.26: Promote research and development||Promote research and development in order to optimize grassland-based animal production and convert by-products from the food industry to animal feed. Promote precision feeding.|
|Policy 6.27: Promote alternatives to animal proteins||Alternatives to animal proteins i.e. plant-based protein sources like leguminous crops should be specifically promoted and supported as well as research on breeding, cultivation of those in appropriate scale in Switzerland.|
|Policy 6.28: Promoting alternative income possibilities||Farmers depending on livestock production today should be supported by promoting alternative income possibilities (e.g. support for transition to crop production, energy production).|
|Policy 6.29: Promote low-input agriculture||This policy suggests production system contributions within the direct payment framework for previously specified low-input agricultural practices incorporating agroecological principles and lowering the GHG emissions in comparison to currently established systems.|
|Policy 6.30: Tax on nitrogen inputs that exceed plant demand & Cap for Synthetic Fertilizer Application||Nitrogen addition should be monitored very closely and inputs that are beyond the plant supply should be taxed. For this, a tool should be made available to farmers that accounts for e.g. the nutrient demand of plants, the availability of nitrogen in the soil, the type of fertilizer used and the application technique. As a complementary measure an incentive tax on synthetic fertilizers can be raised. Further we suggest a cap for synthetic fertilizer application based on local conditions as part of a compulsory fertilization balance for all farmers. This cap will be lowered in a stepwise manner guaranteeing both the aimed reduction and the possibility for farmers to adapt to the new situation.|
|Policy 6.31: Rewetting of organic soils||Despite their long history of drainage, large amounts of carbon are still stored in organic soils. These stocks (equivalent to about two years of total Swiss GHG emissions) should be preserved by rewetting, thereby reducing GHG emissions.|
|Policy 6.32: Apply standard mineral oil tax to agriculture||Standard mineral oil tax should be applied for agricultural production. With this measure additional policies aiming at an establishment of Truth of Costs and changes in the mobility sector can then automatically also be applied to mobility in the agricultural sector.|
|Policy 6.33: Promotion of individual technical mitigation measures||Farmers should have free access to any kind of information (scientific results, meteorological data, soil information etc.) and be supported in actively optimizing their production system (soils, plants, animals, infrastructure). Likewise, farmers should be able to participate in capacity building programs and benefit from consultation services. Their income should be high enough so that they can afford the time and money to optimize their production. As a last option individual technical measures can directly be subsidized.|
|Chapter 7: Negative Emissions|
|Policy 7.1: Negative emissions financing through greenhouse gas pricing||From 2030 onwards, only greenhouse gas emissions compensated in real terms by NETs are allowed. To ensure that NETs are available at affordable costs in 2030, an annually increasing portion of the GHG-levy must flow into NET projects as start-up financing from now on. In this way, the plants are manufactured industrially and become more cost-effective. The goal is to achieve costs below 200Fr. per ton of CO2. In addition to the CO2 tax, the air ticket tax is also suitable as start-up financing.|
|Policy 7.2: Obligation to compensate emissions of imported goods||Switzerland neutralizes its consumption based GHG emissions. The emissions from the production and utilization of all imported goods/energy carriers into Switzerland must be negatively compensated by 1% in 2022. The fraction of total emissions for which negative emissions have to be bought increases to 2% in 2023, 4% in 2024, 8% in 2025, 16% in 2026, 32% in 2027, 64% in 2028, 85% in 2029 and remains at 100% in/after 2030, thereby mimicking a learning curve. The importers pay providers to remove this percentage of CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it for the long term.|
|Policy 7.3: Subsidy of NETs with refunded general greenhouse gas levy||This policy guarantees companies or privates a fixed subsidy for each ton of CO2 verifiably removed from the atmosphere over a predetermined period of time. The subsidy per ton of removed CO2 is gradually reduced as Switzerland’s NET capacity is scaled up. The subsidy per ton of CO2 removed is specific to the NET involved. The level of compensation applied to each NET is determined by the NETs portfolio Switzerland aims for post-decarbonization.|
|Chapter 8: Financial Sector|
|Policy 8.1: Legislative reduction targets / adaptation of the CO2 law||The financial sector becomes carbon neutral the latest by 2030. An immediate ban on new investments, credits and insurance services for projects and companies active in fossil fuel extraction. The financial institutions need to present decarbonization plans until the end of 2020.|
|Policy 8.2: Obliging financial institutions to perform stress tests||Financial institutions should undergo an annual climate compatibility test and disclose this information.|
|Policy 8.3: Green investment facility||A Green Investment Facility would complement the existing funds by investing in climate-friendly energy projects. The Green Investment Facility is intended to provide debt capital to companies and projects, for example in the form of Green Bonds.|
|Policy 8.4: Adopt EU Green Taxonomy||The Taxonomy identifies and classifies economic activities of companies in the most CO2 intensive industries according to climate criteria. Companies can use this taxonomy to issue so-called "green bonds", financial institutions can invest in them. Such taxonomies provide the basis with which net zero financial flows can be achieved.|
|Policy 8.5: Carbon Accounting||In order to create transparency for the financial sector and for the general public, existing Swiss accounting standards (e.g. Swiss GAAP FER) should be extended to include the documentation of CO2 emissions, taking into account all scopes (Scopes 1-3). This extension should also become an admission requirement for the Swiss Stock Exchange.|
|Policy 8.6: Defining fiduciary duties more clearly||Fiduciary duties need to be extended to include the impact of the climate crisis. Its explicit rewriting in the legal texts is necessary so that insurance companies can exercise their fiduciary duty and have legal certainty.|
|Policy 8.7: Include sustainability targets for SNB||Sustainability and climate risks should be a top priority for the SNB. The federal constitutional and legal articles concerning the SNB should be supplemented by the concept of sustainability.|
|Policy 8.8: SNB shall exercise vote as shareholder||The SNB should exercise its shareholder voting rights. It is often among the top 40 shareholders of many companies that emit CO2 and thus potentially has a great deal of leverage on the corporate strategy of commodity traders and CO2-intensive companies.|
|Policy 8.9: Climate reporting for financial institutions||Financial institutions should transparently report on their ecological impact to costumers.|
|Policy 8.10: Education and training for employees of pension funds, banks and insurance companies||All consultants and employees are to be made aware of climate risks, not only with regard to the investment side, but also in the credit business. As part of an education and training offensive, companies in the Swiss financial sector should be required to train 10% of their employees in climate risks each year until 2030.|
|Policy 8.11: Tax incentives for green pillar 3a||A Green Pillar 3a of the private retirement provision should be introduced. This scheme could be incentivized through different ways such as a bonus-malus system or to increase the tax-free allowance for the Green Pillar 3a. Funds could also automatically be invested in the Green Pillar IIIa unless the insured explicitly request otherwise.|
|Chapter 9: Economic & Political Structures|
|Policy 9.1: Public Program for Green Jobs||The Public Program for Green Jobs (ProGJ) should mitigate the social consequences of the transition to a GHG neutral economy. It will help workers in finding a new occupation, support them financially if they become unemployed and promote a socio-economic transformation by creating new green jobs in sectors that are crucial to kick start the green transition.|
|Policy 9.2: Nationwide network of climate workshops||Climate workshops provide equipment for loan, offer repair services and organize further training and courses. They are part of public services and should be set up in all districts and villages.|
|Policy 9.3: Working Time Reduction (WTR)||The number of full-time weekly working hours is gradually reduced to 24 hours a week by 2030 and the working week is immediately reduced to four working days. When workers do work for a shorter time period the output of the whole economic system can be substantially reduced and therefore also carbon emissions. WTR is also a crucial measure to redistribute the productivity gains of the economy to the workers.|
|Policy 9.4: Strengthening the care economy||The care economy is a relatively low-carbon economy and should replace some of the other (carbon-intensive) sectors in the economy as an important job and wage-earning market. The care economy (caring for children at home and in day-nurseries/Kindergartens/Schools, caring for elderly at home or in retirement homes, caring for sick people in hospitals) will be expanded. The state will pay parents for in total up to 24 months of childcare. Strengthening the care economy will have socially positive impacts by contributing to gender equality.|
|Policy 9.5: Foundations and cooperatives replace corporations||The legal form of corporations and stock-companies are prone to be dependent on growth and expansion at cost of nature. Therefore, democratically run foundations and cooperatives should become more relevant legal forms for new and existing companies.|
|Policy 9.6: Replacement of GDP by Sustainable Development Index (SDI)||The SDI is based on five indicators (education, life expectancy, income, CO2 emissions, material footprint). Switzerland is setting up an internationally oriented foundation for promoting the SDI and financing it with CHF 5 million annually.|
|Policy 9.7: Financing the initial phase of a World Climate Forum||A World Climate Forum formed by grassroots movements should find solutions for the climate crisis on a global level. The confederation should finance its initiation three-year phase with CHF 10 million per year.|
|Policy 9.8: New Concept of Ownership||Private property may only be used privately to the extent that it does not cause any damage to the general public, in particular regarding environmental protection and climate warming. Private property of social relevance must be made available to the general public if this is necessary from a superordinate perspective.|
|Policy 9.9: Climate-protection tax on large assets and the establishment of capital controls||A climate asset tax of 20% is raised on all asset shares above one million francs per household. This does not include owner-occupied property and tangible assets that are in daily use. Half of the revenue from this tax is to be used in the countries of the Global South for climate mitigation projects. The other half will be used for climate policy measures in Switzerland.|
|Policy 9.10: Abolition of Lump-sum taxation||The lump-sum taxation is abolished. This scheme benefited a few thousand rich people with mass tax deductions. This policy will not have a direct impact on GHG emissions but has important consequences for regarding the aspect of climate justice.|
|Policy 9.11: Climate delegate of the Federal Council and Monitoring the progress in climate protection policies||The delegate will coordinate the climate policy projects of the confederation, cantons and municipalities, maintain a lively exchange with NGOs and climate movements, create a monitoring process and draw up an annual report. Each year, the delegate convenes a conference to discuss progress in climate policy.|
|Policy 9.12: Democratic Rights for all Residents of Switzerland||Switzerland is introducing all democratic rights for non-Swiss citizens who have been resident in Switzerland for at least five years. The major challenges posed by climate change are increasingly affecting everyone, therefore everyone should be able to participate in the decision-making.|
|Policy 9.13: Democratic rights for everyone aged 14 and over||Switzerland introduces the right to vote and stand for election for all people who have reached the age of 14. Global warming particularly affects the younger generations. It is therefore more than justified to grant this generation full democratic rights.|
|Chapter 10: International Collaboration and Climate Finance|
|Policy 10.1: Switzerland contributes CHF 1 billion in climate finance each year||Switzerland contributes CHF 1 billion in climate finance each year. The available funds are transferred to institutions, funds or programs to finance measures in the target countries. Money is mobilized or generated through taxes, sanctions, levies, voluntary contributions, etc.|
|Policy 10.2: No Externalization of GHG Emissions||Switzerland does not externalize the necessary reduction of GHG emissions through purchasing of ITMOs and/or “compensation” abroad.|
|Policy 10.3: New Interpretation of International Trade Agreements||Switzerland declares that the respect for human rights and international agreements on climate protection clearly take precedence over the provisions of other international treaties, particularly trade agreements. In case of doubt, it suspends the application of provisions in trade agreements.|
|Policy 10.4: Prioritizing human rights, peacekeeping, climate protection and climate justice in international law||Within the UN framework, Switzerland proposes the creation of a clear order of priorities. In this context, agreements on international law, human rights, peacekeeping, climate protection and justice should be given priority over all other international treaties, particularly trade agreements. Thus, provisions in international agreements that contradict these priority agreements are suspended. Violations of the priority law should also be sanctionable. An office is set up to win over allies for this project.|
|Policy 10.5: The Fossil-Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FF-NPT)||The goal of the FF-NPT is to phase out fossil fuels through a global legally binding treaty. Switzerland takes up a leading role in the negotiations and its implementation.|
|Chapter 11: Education|
|Policy 11.1: Climate Change Education as a core element of the education system||Climate Change Education has to get a focal point at all school levels by implementing it in in all curricula.|
|Policy 11.2: National advanced training program for teachers||Implementing an education program on climate change for teachers. This program is aimed at teachers already teaching. The content of these training courses should be based on the UNESCO goals of climate change education. It guarantees that the teachers understand the topic and are able to pass on their knowledge to their students.|
|Policy 11.3: National climate action week||The “National Climate Action Week” is a project week taking place throughout Switzerland at schools and universities. It is provided by the federal government and cantons. During this experience-oriented week, all participating students deal with topics related to climatic and ecological changes.|
|Policy 11.4: Climate education on a local level||Using social structures (local networks, NGOs, climate assemblies, etc.) to organize climate education projects and events. The aim is to share knowledge and skills on a more personal level to all people. The state provides to start those projects.|
|Policy 11.5: Government information campaign||Governmental organizations like FOEN, MeteoSwiss etc. are informing the population about the climate crisis. A governmental information campaign informs about the need for action and stimulates corresponding behavior, skills and mindsets to reach the aims to reduce Swiss net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030.|
|Policy 11.6: Journalism reflecting the reality of problems||Media should label opinions and scientific facts/estimates accordingly. The treatment of the topic should not be reactively orientated towards sensational single events, but should be constructively involved in the political process through a debate on solutions for the crisis.|
|Policy 11.7: Counsellor for environmental awareness||Every swiss firm has to have a counsellor of environmental awareness. This person is responsible for the organization of educational training on climate change for the employees.|
|Policy 11.8: Environmental training for all employees and apprentices||Employees and apprentices should take part in environmental trainings. This is organized by the counsellor and held by experts. It should be practically-based and connected to the employee’s field of work. The training should help workers to reduce their company's emissions. |
|Policy 11.9: Carbon conversations||People within their municipalities meet up and discuss their feelings and practices related to climate change in small groups. It is important to discuss and share one’s thoughts and emotions regarding climate change as a contrast to all the fact-based education.|
|Chapter 12: Adaptation|
|Policy 12.1: Focus on prevention, build resilience and invest in the health system||Many policies for mitigation already have positive health effects. In general, more investment is needed in the health sector. Additionally, the enhancement of epidemiological surveillance targeted at specific territories and the active support from the government in order to strengthen the social capital is needed. This involves the organization of a network of resources and the strengthening of social linkages that can help to reduce vulnerability and increase community resilience.|
|Policy 12.2: Sustainable alternatives for tourism||In the future more and more ski regions will be unable to continue offering the current version of winter tourism without artificial snowmaking. As snow machines are not climate friendly and only delay the problems winter tourism regions have to adapt to the changing climate. Subsidies will therefore go to ski resorts in order to develop sustainable and long-term alternatives for tourism without artificial snowmaking. No further subsidies will be given to short-term business models in ski regions that fail to take environmental sustainability into account.|
|Policy 12.3: Legal framework to support climate refugees||Individuals around the world are being displaced by the effects of climate change and thus forced to relocate in order to survive. Refugee law therefore has an important role to play in this area. Legal advice, guidance and the development of norms to support the enhanced protection of the rights of people displaced in the context of climate change related disasters is needed.|
This is the end of the
The extensive version of the
Climate Action Plan follows.