Switzerland raises its CO2 tax by almost 70% in order to fulfill its Kyoto obligations

By Stéphanie Chuffart, Visiting Fellow

Switzerland will raise its CO2 tax as of January 1st, 2014. The decision implements the Swiss Federal Ordinance on CO2 (entered into force on January 1st 2013) and follows statistics published on July 3, 2013 by the federal agency for the environment which shows that Switzerland’s emissions for the year 2011 added up to 82.5% of 1990 Kyoto levels (the baseline used in Kyoto Protocol targets). The percentage should have been 79%. Accordingly, the CO2 tax will increase from 36CHF (36.97USD) to 60CHF (61.62USD) per ton of CO2, an important augmentation of almost 70%. One third of the revenue is allocated to financing of emission reduction measures for buildings.

It is expected that this net increase will send an unequivocal message to the private sector and that this will make it ultimately possible for Switzerland to fulfill its Kyoto objectives by the year 2014. The news has triggered mostly favorable reactions in the country, although the Swiss oil union –an association defending the oil economy’s interests in Switzerland- has unsurprisingly declared that the increase was unjustified and arbitrary in light of the small difference in emission levels.

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