FAQ

Climate change

What is climate change?

Over the course of millions of years, the global climate has experienced fluctuations. Since the beginning of industrialisation, however, the composition of the atmosphere has changed as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. This global warming caused by human beings intensifies the natural greenhouse effect and is leading to detectable changes to the climate. This global warming also has a significant effect on people and nature.

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What are the causes of climate change?

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the global warming of the last 50 years is clearly attributable to humans. Due to emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, i.e. oil, gas and coal, as well as human land use, the natural greenhouse effect is intensified.

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What is the anthropogenic greenhouse effect?

The anthropogenic greenhouse effect is due to greenhouse gases emitted by humans, which amplify the natural greenhouse effect. This leads to global warming. This noticeable change in the climate has a significant impact on people and nature.

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What are the effects of climate change?

Climate change destabilises the Earth’s temperature equilibrium and has far-reaching effects on human beings and the environment. A distinction is made between direct and indirect effects of climate change. During the course of global warming, the energy balance and thus the temperature of the earth change, due to the increased concentration of greenhouse gases, which has a significant impact on humans and the environment.

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What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are the gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that produce the greenhouse effect. Most greenhouse gases can have either a natural or an anthropogenic (man-made) source.

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What is the greenhouse effect?

The greenhouse effect is basically a natural process that has a significant impact on the temperature on Earth. However, since the beginning of industrialisation, the presence of long-lasting greenhouse gases has been increasing dramatically.

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What is CO₂ and where does it come from?

Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is a colourless and odourless gas that is a natural component of our air and makes up part of the carbon cycle.

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How many tonnes of CO2 are emitted globally on average?

A person produces on average 4.5 tonnes of CO2 per year. But what exactly does it mean to cause one tonne of CO2 and what can be understood by it? myclimate has drawn up a comparison.

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What are CO2 equivalents?

A CO2 equivalent (CO2e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardise the climate effects of various greenhouse gases.

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How much CO2 does Switzerland emit?

When comparing CO2 emissions internationally, three different emission variables of the individual countries are relevant: direct CO2 emissions, imported CO2 emissions and a country’s per capita emissions. Current figures on the three emission variables show that Switzerland is one of the largest causers of CO2 emissions.

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What is climate?

For scientists, the term “climate” encompasses weather patterns over a long period. Although this term is somewhat abstract, its impact is very real. What is the difference between weather and climate? And what are the climate factors and drivers?

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What is global warming?

"Global warming" means that the average temperature everywhere on earth increases for a longer period of time. However, global warming does not necessarily mean that this happens evenly all over the world. Some parts of the earth may warm up more, others more slowly, and fluctuations cannot be ruled out.

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Earth Overshoot Day: how do we handle our resources?

The exploitation of Earth is increasing every year, with more resources consumed than the planet can provide. Earth Overshoot Day highlights this issue by precisely defining the date on which annual resources are exhausted. In 2023 it falls on 2 August

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Climate policy and climate protection

What is sustainability?

As a concept, sustainability goes far beyond just climate protection. It means dealing responsibly with the earth’s limited resources while creating a sustainable society and promoting social justice.

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What does “climate neutral” mean?

The term “climate neutral” is widespread, but it often causes misunderstanding and confusion. That’s because in most cases it doesn’t mean that no emissions are produced, “merely” that emissions are offset by climate protection projects. That’s why myclimate no longer uses this term. A more effective approach than calculating climate neutrality is transparent communication by companies and organisations about their own climate protection efforts.

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Stricter rules for green claims and environment-related advertising in the EU. What’s changing?

On 1 January 2023, France introduced tighter rules for environment-related advertising and green claims and the EU is likely to soon follow suit. Products and services that are marketed with designations like “climate-neutral” are now subject to stricter conditions for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions they cause. The myclimate label “Engaged for Impact” fulfils all requirements set out by the new laws.

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What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are common, universal goals for member states of the United Nations to transform the world into a fairer, more prosperous and peaceful society until 2030. They were adopted in September 2015 as successors to the Millennium Goals.

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How does myclimate measure contributions to the SDGs?

When planning and designing climate protection projects, myclimate puts particular emphasis on positive impacts that, besides reducing greenhouse gases, make a comprehensive contribution to improving the ecological, social and economic situation in our partner countries. We measure these diverse development impacts by their contribution to the SDGs.

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What are climate protection projects?

Climate protection projects support the use of renewable energy, realise energy efficiency measures or reduce methane emissions. This can be achieved through technological advances, the filtering of greenhouse gases from power plants and production facilities, but also through afforestation and other suitable measures in agriculture.

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What standards do our climate protection projects meet?

myclimate applies only the strictest independent quality standards when choosing and designing its own climate protection projects. International projects are primarily certified according to Gold Standard and Plan Vivo, and selected projects also according to VCS (incl. CCB and/or SD-VISta). Swiss projects are registered according to the guidelines of the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)/Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) and verified according to the "myclimate Guidelines for Domestic Projects".

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What meaningful measures are available for counteracting climate change as an individual?

Everyone can make a contribution to climate protection! In line with the motto “Avoid, reduce and make a contribution to climate protection”, we can take responsibility for our own ecological footprint, which includes our CO₂ emissions. The most common everyday causes of harmful emissions are travel with cars or aeroplanes, heating and electricity usage and our consumption behaviour.

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What does Decarbonisation mean?

Greenhouse gas emissions produced by people and the resulting global temperature increase are a key cause of climate change. Through decarbonisation – the switch from fossil fuels to carbon-free and renewable energy sources – states and companies worldwide want to reduce and avoid CO2 emissions. However, current global climate targets are still not ambitious enough to effectively stem climate change.

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How do renewables contribute to climate protection?

The world has agreed on a clear goal in the Paris Agreement: global warming should be limited to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius. To achieve this target, the energy supply must be climate-neutral by 2050. In concrete terms, this means that all energy must come from renewable sources as soon as possible.

 

But what exactly is renewable energy, how does it contribute to climate protection, and where does it have the greatest impact? We provide answers to these and other questions in this article.

 

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What is the Kyoto Protocol?

On 11 December, 1997, in Kyoto, Japan, the additional protocol to the organisation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted. The aim was to slow down climate change by means of climate protection measures. The Kyoto Protocol included clear regulations on how greenhouse gases were to be reduced. It came into force in 2005 and was replaced by the Paris Agreement in 2021.

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What is the Paris Climate Agreement?

At the COP21 climate conference in Paris in 2015, the “Paris Climate Agreement” – also known as the “Paris Treaty” or the “Paris Agreement” – was adopted. There were 197 signatories to the agreement, with almost all of them ratifying the treaty. The agreement is a legally binding international treaty that forms part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its aim is to limit global warming, preferably to 1.5°C and significantly below 2°C, compared to the pre-industrial level of 1850.

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What was Decided at the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow?

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) took place from 31 October to 12 November 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. As at the previous Climate Change COPs, the focus was on limiting global warming and the measures needed to do so. These emission reduction certificates (Certified Emission Reductions, CERs) can be traded and transferred on international carbon markets.

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What happens at COP28 and other UNFCCC climate conferences?

At a UNFCCC climate conference, politicians from many different countries come together to work out solutions and reach agreements to limit the increase in global warming. In 1992, the first UNFCCC climate conference took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the participation of the member states of the United Nations.

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What is bilateral climate protection?

In 2020, the Paris Agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol. In the process, the framework conditions for the international carbon markets underwent change. “Paris” now allows parties to the agreement to cooperate directly with one another. This means that CO₂ reductions can be realised in one country, while the certificates for these reductions are transferred to another country and accounted for in that country’s national register.

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What is the Swiss CO2 Act?

The revised CO2 Act contains various measures to reduce Switzerland's CO2 emissions. Specifically, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to half of the 1990 level by 2030. This serves to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement as ratified by Switzerland. Because the law was subject to an optional referendum, the Swiss electorate will vote on it on 13 June 2021.

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What is emissions trading?

In Europe, North America, Australia and New Zeeland, national and regional emissions trading systems have been introduced to regulate industries that are particularly energy-intensive and emissions-intensive through a market mechanism. Emissions trading employs a marketplace to reduce emissions of harmful gases, which creates motivation for investing in climate-friendly technologies.

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What is the circular economy?

The circular economy refers to a systemic approach to longer and more efficient use of resources and thus to avoidance of waste and pollution. Resources are kept in the material cycle for as long as possible with the highest possible value. This means that fewer primary raw materials are consumed, and the more efficient production processes lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The approach of the circular economy is not the same as that of recycling. A distinction is drawn between the technical and the biological cycles.

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What are Nature-based Solutions (NbS)?

Nature-based solutions are increasingly coming to the fore, rooted in the protection, regeneration and sustainable management of ecosystems. This is because it is no longer possible to achieve the Paris 1.5°C target through mere reduction of man-made emissions and capturing and storing them using technological solutions. For this reason, nature-based solutions are increasingly coming to the fore, rooted in the protection, regeneration and sustainable management of ecosystems. Nature-based solutions are not only one of the most powerful tools to fight climate change, but they also offer a variety of other important advantages for people and nature, such as an unspoiled environment and the protection of biodiversity.

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Why are forests important for climate protection?

Forests play a key part in a functioning global climate, supplying invaluable benefits for local communities and for biodiversity. Sadly, forests are under threat, with global logging one of the main drivers of climate change and the decline in biodiversity. To counteract this trend, climate protection organisations such as myclimate support impactful projects for reforestation and for the protection of existing forests. This article explains why forests are so important, and how they contribute to climate protection.

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Emissions & footprint

What is the ecological footprint?

The ecological footprint was developed by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees in the mid-1990s and it has since been implemented as an indicator for sustainability. It represents the demands made on the ecosystem and natural resources.

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What is a digital carbon footprint?

The digital transformation has brought many benefits that also have a positive impact on the fight against climate change and reduce CO₂ emissions. However, the production, use and data transfer of digital devices causes more CO₂ emissions than one might expect. These emissions are summarised under the terms “digital CO₂ footprint” or “digital carbon footprint”.

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What does "net zero emissions" mean?

Net zero is on everyone's lips nowadays. So what exactly does “net zero emission” mean?

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What are Science-Based Targets (SBT)?

SBTs are a way for companies to define emissions reduction targets. Unlike traditional “potential-based targets”, SBTs follow a “top-down” approach: they focus on the quantity of emissions that needs to be reduced in order to meet the targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, limiting global warming to 1.5°C. In addition, the Net-Zero Standard, launched in October 2021, gives companies a science-based framework for defining ambitious and effective climate targets with a long-term goal of achieving net-zero emissions.

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What are "negative emissions"?

To reach "zero net emissions” and limit global warming to 1.5°C, it is necessary to remove and permanently store CO₂ from the atmosphere. This is called Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). As it is the opposite of emissions, these practices or technologies are often described as achieving "negative emissions", "sinks" or "removals". There is a direct link between radically reducing CO₂ emissions and CDR: The earlier net zero emissions are achieved, the less CDR is necessary. Therefore, the projected amount of required CDR over the 21st century varies from 100 to 1,000 Gt CO₂.

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What is a carbon budget?

The term carbon budget is used to illustrate the average amount of CO₂ per resident that may be produced in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C. By ratifying the Paris Agreement, Switzerland has committed itself to reducing its emissions by 50% by 2030 and to limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Based on Switzerland’s historic emissions, the country’s annual budget per person is a maximum of 0.47t of CO₂ by 2100.

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What is sufficiency?

Sufficiency, often also referred to as frugality, starts with consumer behaviour. Based on the principle of "less is more", the general consumption of resources should be reduced to a level that can be reasonably sustained in the future, as the current distribution ratios for goods and resources are not only ecologically dangerous, but also internationally questionable.

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What are emission scenarios, climate models and climate projections?

Climate models are used together with emission scenarios to calculate the probable future climate, so-called climate projections. The climate models describe how the earth's climate functions, while the emission scenarios describe the impact of humans on the environment. If the climate models are combined with the emission scenarios, it is possible to predict with a certain amount of probability how the climate will be in the future.

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What makes myclimate's CO2 calculators unique?

myclimate offers various CO2 emissions calculators for different activities. It isn’t just emissions from air travel, car journeys and cruise holidays that can be calculated: individual carbon footprints, the corporate carbon footprint and/or the greenhouse gas footprint of events can also be ascertained, and a carbon footprint drawn up for individual households. In addition, it is possible to support carbon offset projects and the valuable educational programmes of myclimate with free donations or to directly select a project of your choice for support.

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What is the CO2 tax?

The CO₂ tax is also known as the CO₂ price or CO₂ pricing and, like any other tax, is set individually by a state. In Sweden, the CO₂ tax has been in place since 1991 and currently stands at 114 euros per tonne of CO₂ emitted. In Switzerland, Denmark, Finland and Slovenia, a CO₂ tax has also been standard for many years. In Germany, the CO₂ tax will be introduced from 2021 with an introductory price of 25 euros and will increase gradually. By taxing CO₂ emissions, the countries are pursuing the goal of making CO₂ emissions more expensive in order to achieve a reduction in CO₂ emissions.

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Financing climate protection

What are CO₂ certificates?

CO₂ certificates represent the amount of emissions for which financial responsibility is assumed through support for climate protection projects. One certificate corresponds to one tonne of greenhouse gases.

 

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What is Carbon Insetting?

Insetting refers to the financing of climate protection projects along a company’s own value chain that demonstrably reduce or sequester emissions and thereby achieve a positive impact on the communities, landscapes and ecosystems associated with the value chain.

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Why should I calculate my CO2 emissions and take responsibility for them?

Human-induced climate change is one of the 21st century’s biggest challenges. True to myclimate’s motto “do your best - take care of the rest”, it’s best to avoid creating CO2 emissions in the first place. However, due to the fact that the most important thing for the climate is to reduce the amount of emissions worldwide, contributions to climate protection can also be made based on the calculated unavoidable emissions.

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What does the Paris Agreement mean for companies?  

The replacement of the Kyoto Protocol with the Paris Agreement and the decisions of the subsequent climate protection conferences have a far-reaching impact – for all players in the carbon market and for people worldwide. myclimate is at the forefront of promoting transparency and integrity in the voluntary carbon market. The following provides an overview of current developments in the voluntary market and what they mean for private sector companies. 

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What is the myclimate impact label?

If we are to achieve the Paris climate goals, then the private sector is more important than ever. The myclimate label “Engaged for Impact” (impact label for short) denotes companies that proactively and voluntarily commit to climate protection by financing climate protection measures. In addition to reducing their own emissions, this is an important component of a climate strategy towards net zero, and it also enables a company to gain experience in pricing in the costs of remaining CO₂ emissions.

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How does my climate protection contribution help the climate?

The myclimate climate protection projects reduce emissions by replacing fossil energy sources with renewable energy or by promoting energy-efficient technologies. High-quality climate protection projects also contribute to social, ecological and economic development in their respective regions.

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How much of my climate protection contribution is used to finance the projects?

Supporting climate protection projects only makes a difference if the money actually benefits these projects directly. As a non-profit foundation, myclimate guarantees that at least 80 percent of climate protection contribution will be used in climate protection projects. The foundation requires the remaining amount (maximum 20 percent) to cover administration and internal costs.

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Can I be sure that my money really reduces the promised amount of CO₂?

myclimate invests exclusively in projects that deliver measurable and long-term success. Only emissions reductions that have actually been realised and can be proven over a longer contract term of 7 to 14 years are counted in energy projects. Contributions to climate protection made to myclimate are generally paid out to the supported projects after the services have been rendered. The contribution amount depends on the volume of the project’s greenhouse gas reduction. Land use and forestry projects (agriculture, moorland, forest) are a speciality, as they naturally have a longer time horizon of 30 to 50 years.

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Is my donation / my climate protection contribution tax deductible?

myclimate and myclimate Germany are charitable foundations and are therefore tax-exempt in Switzerland and Germany. All private climate protection contributions and donations to myclimate are tax deductible in both Switzerland and Germany.

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Where does the money come from for programmes in Switzerland funded by the KliK Foundation?

The Foundation myclimate develops and operates various support programmes in Switzerland on behalf of the Foundation for Climate Protection and Carbon Offset KliK. These support programmes offer a financial incentive for the replacement of fossil energies, for example for overhauling heating systems or for alternative drive technologies. But where does the money for the KliK Foundation come from? These support programmes offer a financial incentive for the replacement of fossil energies, for example for overhauling heating systems or for the use of alternative climate-friendly technologies. Where does the money of the KliK Foundation come from?

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