Renewed Swiss push to cut climate emissions

Government launches new programme for energy efficiency, renewables

The Swiss government has launched a new support programme for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, designed to realise a national target of cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 10% from 1990 levels by 2010. Energy-Switzerland follows on from the ten-year Energy 2000 programme, which expired last year, and under which CO2 is expected only to stabilise (ENDS Daily 15 September 1999).

The programme was launched in late January by Swiss president and environment minister Moritz Leuenberger, who stressed that it should play a key role in making Swiss energy supply more sustainable and in increasing the country's energy security.

More efforts were needed to cut CO2 emissions, Mr Leuenberger stressed, starting with an increased focus on voluntary measures. Based on an initial framework prepared by the national energy agency AenEC, the government would soon begin fixing agreements with different industrial sectors on limiting emissions.

But Mr Leuenberger also underlined the possibility of a tax on CO2 after 2004 if sufficient progress is not demonstrated by then, as foreseen under a law passed in 1999 (ENDS Daily 8 October 1999). Industry sectors that meet agreed targets would be exempted from this, he added.

At canton level, energy-saving efforts would be concentrated in the buildings sector and, with the support of the commercial energy agency EnAW, in the commercial buildings sector. Again, voluntary achievement of targets would free consumers of an eventual CO2 tax.

Follow Up:
Swiss environment ministry, tel: +41 31 322 5511 and press release.

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