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Parliamentary resolutions on the revised CO2 Act at a glance

Updated at 14 Mar 2024 2:10 pm

The revised CO2 Act is intended to regulate the reduction of greenhouse gases in the years 2025 to 2030. In the consultations, the less ambitious Council of States often prevailed. Here are some important decisions:

REDUCTION TARGET: By 2030, Swiss greenhouse gas emissions are to be halved compared to 1990 levels. The National Council had actually wanted at least 75% of the reduction to be achieved through domestic measures and a maximum of 25% through projects abroad, as is the case under current law. In the debate on the differences, it lowered the domestic quota to 70 percent. However, the Council of States ultimately prevailed and, like the Federal Council, wanted a reduction primarily in Switzerland, but without writing a specific quota into law. The Federal Council should be able to set such a quota by ordinance. In the Council of States' version, the potential for the domestic share is seen at around two thirds. Environment Minister Albert Rösti assured Parliament that he would propose a quota of 66% to the Federal Council. This is realistic with the measures adopted.

CHARGING STATIONS: The Federal Council would have liked to promote charging infrastructures for electric cars, for example in apartment buildings and public parking lots, with a maximum of CHF 30 million a year from the mineral oil tax until 2030. However, Parliament refused to support it. The Council of States was against this funding measure from the outset because it was of the opinion that setting up charging infrastructure was a matter for private individuals. The National Council had wanted to save the funding measure with compromise proposals, but did not get its compromise proposals through. It had wanted to support the installation of basic infrastructure in multi-party buildings and companies with several workplaces with CHF 20 million a year for six years.

VEHICLE LIMITS: The National Council would have liked to take a more ambitious approach to CO2 limits for passenger cars, but was thwarted by the Council of States. It would have liked to set annual interim targets to achieve a linear reduction in new cars from 93.6 grams of CO2 per kilometer in 2025 to 49.5 grams of CO2 per kilometer in 2030. However, the Council of States did not want these interim targets. The Federal Council also argued in favor of this path and against a "Swiss finish". From 2030, new passenger cars will be allowed to emit a maximum of 49.5 grams of CO2 per kilometer and new delivery vans and light articulated lorries a maximum of 90.6 grams. There are also reduction targets for heavy vehicles.

CO2 TAX: The CO2 tax remains at CHF 120 per tonne of CO2. Both councils also want to invest up to a third of the revenue from the levy in the buildings program, the promotion of renewable energy and in technologies to reduce greenhouse gases. The Federal Council would have wanted to earmark less than half of the revenue for this purpose by 2030 and return a smaller residual amount to the economy and the population.

FUELS: Both Councils have dispensed with the transfer obligation for renewable fuels proposed by the Federal Council. According to the Council of States committee, this obligation would have increased the price of a liter of fuel at the pump by around five centimes. The Council of States initially supported the transfer obligation, while the National Council rejected it from the outset. The Council of States followed suit. Its Environment Committee had requested that the law be abandoned in favor of broad acceptance.

HEAVY TRANSPORT DUTY: The current law on exempting trucks with alternative fuels from the performance-related heavy vehicle charge (HVC) remains in force. The Council of States has prevailed here. The provisions are to remain in force until the revised HVF Act comes into force, which is subject to consultation until May 23. The draft provides for investment contributions and partial exemption from the HVF for trucks with electric and hydrogen drives from 2031, as Environment Minister Albert Rösti explained. The National Council initially wanted a temporary and differentiated exemption for electric trucks and trucks with renewable fuels, but agreed with the Council of States.

AIR TRAFFIC: Renewable fuels must be added to kerosene refueled in Switzerland. Parliament wants to regulate the blending quota in the aviation agreement with the EU. Both councils have decided that the emissions in CO2 equivalents for the respective flight will be noted on flight tickets. Both chambers have rejected a levy per flight with business or private jets.

COMPANIES: In principle, all companies and not certain sectors as at present should be able to be exempted from the CO2 levy if they enter into a commitment to reduce their CO2 emissions in return. The reduction obligations are limited until 2040. Companies must submit a decarbonization plan three years after they begin and then update it regularly.

BUS AND RAIL TRANSPORT: It has been clarified when the reimbursement of mineral oil tax for licensed bus companies is to be abolished. For local buses, this will be the case from the beginning of 2026 and in rural areas from 2030 - unless an exception is necessary for topographical reasons. Better international passenger train services are to be financially supported, especially night trains.

FINANCIAL MARKET: The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA and the Swiss National Bank must regularly report on the assessment of climate-related financial risks, such as more frequent storms and droughts. Parliament is not only calling for regular reports on audit results, but also reports on any measures for the financial system.

©Keystone/SDA

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