- The Paris Agreement allows countries to offset their emissions through climate protection projects abroad
At its meeting of 23 June, the Federal Council approved bilateral climate protection agreements with Senegal and Vanuatu. The agreements create the conditions to enable Switzerland to offset CO2 emissions by means of climate protection projects in these two countries. Switzerland concluded similar agreements with Peru and Ghana in 2020.
Under the Paris Agreement, Switzerland has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to half its 1990 levels by 2030. It will meet this target primarily through domestic measures; however, the Paris Agreement also allows countries to offset their emissions through climate protection projects abroad. This means Switzerland can count emissions reductions achieved in other countries towards its national reduction target.
On 20 October 2020, Switzerland signed the first ever agreement of this kind with Peru, and a month later it signed a similar agreement with Ghana. At its meeting of 23 June 2021, the Federal Council approved two further such agreements, this time with Senegal and Vanuatu, allowing Switzerland to reduce CO2 emissions in these two countries through climate protection projects. In Senegal, for example, biogas plants will be installed on farms, resulting in a reduction in firewood and charcoal use. Climate change is having a detrimental effect on agricultural yields in the West African country. In Vanuatu, one project will involve installing solar panels to generate electricity on islands not connected to the electricity grid. The existence of the South Pacific island nation is threatened by rising sea levels and, as a further consequence of climate change, it is being hit with increasing frequency by devastating tropical storms.
Strict environmental protection and human rights standards
In signing these agreements, Switzerland sets a standard for international climate projects that meet stringent environmental protection requirements while also respecting international human rights standards. The agreements also commit both parties to using a method that prevents double counting of emission reductions. The projects will be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet the established criteria.
SOURCE: The Federal Council