The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts a global temperature rise of 2 degrees will have a far greater impact than previously predicted.
To avoid catastrophe, the authors recommend aiming for a lower 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures, only half a degree higher than now. Achieving this would require net global emissions to reach zero by 2050 at the latest.
Sonia Seneviratne, a climate researcher at ETH Zurich told the newspaper Le Matin that Swiss climate data from 1864 to 2017 show Swiss temperatures have risen noticeably more than the global average. Going forward she predicts temperature rises in Switzerland will be twice the world average, something that will require changes in the way people live.
Any delays in acting reduce our margin of manœuvre. Greenhouse gases, once in the atmosphere persist for centuries, even millennia.
Between 2008 and 2012, net emissions in Switzerland fell 8% below 1990 emissions. A drop of 20% is targeted by 2020 and a drop of 50% by 2030. In February 2015, the Federal Council approved an emissions reduction target of 70% to 85% by 2050.
Switzerland’s federal environmental office (OFEV) says it will examine the consequences of the latest IPCC report, and possibly revise targets and aim for zero net emissions by 2050.
The government’s main lever of change is the law on CO2, which includes carbon taxes. Globally, Switzerland scores well carbon tax, however has gapping holes in taxing industry, electricity generation and agriculture.
The OFEV’s revised targets are expected by autumn 2019.