10/13/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/13/2021 10:06
Switzerland's federal government today gave the green light to two agreements on the basis of Article 6 of the Paris climate agreement with Georgia and Dominica.
Under the agreements, projects in these countries financed by Switzerland will count towards Switzerland's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target, the Swiss ministry of environment, transport and energy said.
Article 6 agreements are signed by parties with a view to generating so-called internationally transferred mitigation outcomes that can be counted towards their nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the aims of the Paris deal.
Switzerland's NDC stipulates a 50pc cut in GHG emissions by 2030 against 1990 levels. The NDC provides for domestic policies to account for just a 37.5pc reduction.
In Georgia, Switzerland will develop a national support programme for energy efficiency in the buildings sector. Switzerland will bring in its "long-term" experience from its own buildings programme, the government said.
In Dominica, Switzerland will focus on the electrification of the island's transport sector and on geothermal energy. The aim is for Dominica to be able to phase out fossil fuels.
Switzerland has already signed four Article 6 agreements, with Peru, Ghana, Senegal and Vanuatu. Switzerland also in May this year signed an initial agreement for an Article 6 partnership with Thailand.
In August, Switzerland signed a "joint declaration of intent" with Iceland on collaborating in the fields of carbon removal and carbon capture and storage technologies. Under this collaboration, Switzerland would invest in direct air capture in Iceland, and in exporting its carbon to Iceland, to be permanently stored in basaltic formations.
Iceland and Switzerland in the declaration say that they will "consider legal international frameworks to promote cooperation in this field, taking into account the provisions under the Paris Agreement, including its Art. 6.2". Iceland itself has pledged in its NDC to carry out all its carbon reduction measures domestically.
Switzerland's government says that with the agreements it has signed, the country is creating a "standard" for international climate projects that meet strict environmental criteria, and international standards on human rights.
In the agreements, both signatories commit to a method preventing the double counting of emissions reductions, the government said. And constant monitoring ensures the projects meet the specified criteria, it added.
A final agreement is yet to be reached on the rules governing Article 6. This is expected to happen at this year's UN Cop 26 climate conference in Glasgow next month. As a result, the bilateral agreements are sufficiently flexible to allow them to evolve over time, Switzerland's office for the environment said.
The agreement between Switzerland and Peru, signed in October 2020, was the first agreement world-wide signed under Article 6.
By Chloe Jardine