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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.

With the CO2 Act, the Federal Council and Parliament have developed a strategy to reduce Switzerland's greenhouse gas emissions. As before, financial incentives, investments in climate protection and technological progress, rather than prohibitions, are to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions.


Financial incentives

In specific terms, by means of incentive taxes, those who cause CO2 emissions should pay more and those who cause less CO2 emissions should benefit financially. In addition to the existing taxes on heating oil and natural gas, there will also be an air ticket tax. More than half of the money from the taxes will be redistributed back to the population via the health insurance premium. In addition, in future, all companies will be able to be exempted from the CO2 tax if they undertake to reduce their CO2 emissions.

What will the new CO2 Act cost you? Calculate the financial consequences for you using this calculator!


Investments in climate protection

If the CO2 Act is adopted, a climate fund would be created. This fund would be financed by a third of the revenues from the CO2 tax and a maximum of half of the funds from the air ticket tax. The climate fund will be used to support climate-friendly investments and promote innovative companies. This in turn aims to prompt more orders in Switzerland and create jobs for the future. In addition, the climate fund will help particularly affected regions, such as mountain areas, to lessen the impact of climate change.


Technological progress

The new law aims to accelerate technological progress in transport and buildings. In concrete terms, for example, car importers will have to offer more efficient new cars. In addition, the law stipulates that new buildings may no longer emit CO2.


Klimafonds: Investitionen in die Zukunft

Climate fund and redistribution of incentive taxes (Source: FOEN)


What are the prevailing opinions regarding the vote on the CO2 Act?

An alliance from the oil and car industries has launched an optional referendum against the CO2 Act. The committee “Nein zum CO2-Gesetz” (“No to the CO2 Act”) as well as the SVP and individual associations such as Avenergy, the representative of the international fuel importers, are against the law.


In addition to the Federal Council, the National Council and the Council of States, and almost all political parties from the left to the right of the political spectrum are in favour of the law. Business associations such as economie Suisse, Swiss Banking or Bauenschweiz, various organisations from civil society such as the Klima-Allianz Schweiz (Swiss Climate Alliance) as well as large and small associations from science and society support the CO2 Act. They argue that without the act, Switzerland would fail to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement, that the act is fair because it works according to the polluter pays principle, that it creates jobs and that it makes Switzerland less dependent on oil, gas and coal imports.


myclimate is expressly in favour of adopting the CO2 Act. Click here to read which arguments convinced myclimate CEO Stephen Neff.


Read the text of the Federal Act on the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (CO2 Act)

Swiss Confederation
Federal Office for the Environment



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