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Switzerland is one of the earliest members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and served as Co-Chair of its Working Group and Steering Committee from October 2018 to June 2021. Switzerland has been exemplar not just in reducing national emissions but also in contributing to international efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution.
Air quality in Switzerland has improved significantly over the past 25 years and Zurich, the largest city, tops the list of European cities fighting air pollution - notably, in ways that also mitigate climate change. Ambitious clean air policies have cut down on short-lived climate pollutants, including a 16.7 percent reduction in methane emissions between 1990 and 2015 due mostly to smart agricultural policies like manure management and efficient livestock production. Black carbon emissions have also decreased by an impressive 70 percent between 2000 and 2018 thanks in large part to the introduction of particle filter regulations in diesel engines.
With a total of more than 20,000 retrofitted vehicles and machines, Switzerland has carried out pioneering work to reduce emissions of diesel soot / black carbon (BC). Indeed Swiss environmental legislation requires emissions of carcinogen substances to be minimised. To protect the population, the Federal Council (the Executive) initiated an action plan against particulate matter (PM) in 2006, introducing a variety of measures aimed primarily at reducing the high level of soot / BC emissions from diesel engines. While Switzerland requires road vehicles to abide by the exhaust standards of the European Union, in the non-road sector it imposes various more stringent technical requirements for each type of diesel engine wherever workers, nearby residents and passers-by are at risk. The approved particle filter systems on the list published by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) have for years provided a highly developed technological solution for diesel engines and the abatement of carcinogenic soot / BC.
In 2018, new abatement measures were introduced in the revised Ordinance on Air Pollution Control to address stationary sources to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as particulate matter and black carbon from small wood-heating installations and construction machinery.
Switzerland has introduced already in 2004 strong restrictions for the use of HFCs as well as other synthetic greenhouse gases in all sectors (refrigeration, air conditioning, foams, solvents, spray cans, fire extinction) based on the assessment of availability of climate friendly alternatives and with the purpose of stabilising their emissions. In November 2012, these restrictions have been strengthened particularly in the refrigeration – air conditioning sector, as the commercial availability of climate friendly alternatives has rapidly increased these last years. Since 2019, the import and export of HFCs has been subject to an authorisation requirement, as per the Montreal Protocol. The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment performs a methane inventory annually. Switzerland has a 2050 climate target of zero net emissions.
Switzerland has a longstanding commitment to accelerate climate protection and clean air action internationally. Whether it is providing crucial financial support to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for work on short-lived climate pollutants or ratifying the Gothenburg Protocol, which amended the European Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution in 2012 to include particulate matter and black carbon, Switzerland recognizes the global nature of the crises we are facing. The country also supported the phase down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol and was actively involved in the Marrakech Process by leading on Sustainable Public Procurement. As an active CCAC partner, Switzerland is a Lead Partner of the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Initiative and helped formulate the Global Sulfur Strategy, and was previously engaged in the Bricks Initiative. As an observer state of the Arctic Council, Switzerland supports its initiatives on black carbon and methane emissions reductions.
Committed to accelerating progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Agreement, Switzerland supports partners around the world in tackling climate change and improving air quality while reducing poverty, improving health and protecting the environment. In addition to supporting multilateral climate funds such as the Green Climate Fund, Switzerland fosters efforts to transition to low emission and climate resilient development through projects of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Current international cooperation projects include:
The aim of the Heavy-Duty Diesel Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition is to virtually eliminate black carbon and fine particulate emissions from the on-road vehicle fleet by 2030. The...
This network for brick producers serves to support the exchange of knowledge under the program: "Energy efficiency for brick producers in Latin America to mitigate climate change-EELA". The...
A report on the 1st Regional Conference on SLCPs and Air Pollution, that took place in Lima, Peru, May 4-6 2016. The conference consisted of: i) A workshop on the Peru's SLCP strategy; ii) A...
Facsheet prepared by the CCAC on Carbon Emissions from Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines. (December 2015)