As an innovation leader, Switzerland is in a unique position to globally make a difference. We can and must act now to limit the impacts and associated high costs of climate change and secure a sustainable future for future generations.
Switzerland committed to emitting no more greenhouse gases by 2050 than natural and technical CO₂ sinks can absorb (net zero target). Emission reductions cannot neutralize all emissions of the Swiss economy (e.g. from the cement industry). These residual emissions can only be neutralized through the use of negative emission technologies (NETs). These approaches, such as Climeworks' direct air capture technology, need to be developed, deployed and scaled up now in order to remove climate-relevant amounts of CO₂ from the air in time and contribute to the net zero target. The required amounts of NETs worldwide are six to ten billion tons of CO₂ removed annually by 2050, which will create a global NETs industry worth trillions of Swiss francs.
The KIG, which will be voted on in Switzerland on June 18, 2023, is a significant milestone towards achieving Swiss climate targets:
It contributes to more rapid emission reductions by enabling a faster switch to sustainable heating as well as better energy efficiency.
At the same time, it specifically promotes the innovation of novel technologies to mitigate global warming, including NETs.
This promotes Switzerland as a business and innovation hub and equips it for a sustainable future. By promoting novel climate technologies, Switzerland can have an international impact on climate and become a market leader in the emerging NETs industry worth trillions of Swiss francs, which will generate thousands of sustainable jobs.
Concrete interim targets make the 2050 climate goal more tangible and support the private sector in its implementation: in order to receive funding under the KIG, companies must demonstrate climate roadmaps that result in net zero emissions by 2050. By setting intermediate targets on the way to net zero, companies gain planning certainty for their projects.
In addition, the dependence on oil and gas imports from abroad is reduced while Swiss energy security is increased.
The KIG shows that we can and want to take responsibility for our actions and that we all – government, private sector and society – can contribute to a sustainable, climate-friendly future.
For the vote on June 18, Climeworks therefore advocates for a clear YES.
Editor's note: Switzerland voted in favor of the KIG on Sunday, June 18, 2023.