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Switzerland Sectors

What is Switzerlandʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Switzerland’s building sector has seen a steeper reduction in direct emissions since 1990 than the decline in overall GHG emissions, falling by 37% between 1990 and 2020.2 This was still insufficient, however, to achieve the country’s 2020 buildings sector emissions reduction target of a 40% reduction below 1990 levels set in 2012.13

The amended CO₂ Act that was rejected in the 2021 referendum included an extension of this target to a 50% reduction below 1990 levels by 2026/27.14 Also included was a 2023 ban on the use of fossil fuel heating systems in new buildings, and a requirement that replacement systems emit no more than 20 kgCO₂/m2 of building space, with a further 5 kgCO₂/m2 reduction in each subsequent year. These measures were scrapped in the latest proposed amendment and replaced with funding to encourage the adoption of heat pumps and the creation of district heating networks.15 No sector-wide emissions reduction target is included.

The now rejected 2026/27 emissions reduction target, if achieved, would have put a 1.5°C compatible 2030 emissions level in reach, which requires a reduction of around two thirds to three quarters below 1990 levels. Re-including the ban and gradual phase-out of fossil fuel based heating systems in new and existing homes respectively in the latest CO₂ Act proposal, would help greatly to achieve the necessary electrification rate of at least 55% by 2030.

1 IEA. World Energy Balances 2020 Edition. (2020).

2 Government of Switzerland. Switzerland. 2020 Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table.

3 Climate Action Tracker. Switzerland – November 2020 Update.

4 Swiss Federal Office of Energy. CO2 emission regulations for new cars and light commercial vehicles.

5 Bundesamt für Energie. Energieverbrauch und Energieeffizienz der neuen Personenwagen und leichten Nutzfahrzeuge 2019. (2020).

6 Bundesamt für Energie. Faktenblatt Vollzug der CO2-Emissionsvorschriften für Personenwagen 2017 Neuzugelassene Personenwagen und ihre CO2-Emissionen. (2018).

7 Bundesamt für Energie & Bundesamt für Strassen. Roadmap Elektromobilität 2022. (2018).

8 ACEA. Fuel types of new cars: diesel -23.6%, electric +33.1% in fourth quarter of 2018 | ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

9 ACEA. Fuel types of new cars: diesel -17.9%, petrol +3.3%, electric +40.0% in first quarter of 2019 | ACEA – European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

10 ICAP. Swiss ETS. (2020).

11 Schweizer Parlament. Bundesgesetz über die Verminderung von Treibhausgasemissionen (CO2-Gesetz). (2020).

12 Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. Switzerland’s Fourth Biennial Report under the UNFCCC. (2020).

13 der Bundesrat. Verordnung vom 30. November 2012 über die Reduktion der CO2 Emissionen. (2012).

14 Schweizer Parlament. Bundesgesetz über die Verminderung von Treibhausgasemissionen (CO2-Gesetz).

15 Swiss Confederation. Revision of the CO2 law: Explanatory report on the consultation draft. (2021).

16 Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft. Switzerland’s Fourth Biennial Report under the UNFCCC.(2020).

17 ICAP. ICAP Allowance Price Explorer. (2022).

18 European Alternative Fuels Observatory. Switzerland – Vehicles and fleet. (2022).

19 Kuramochi, T. et al. Ten key short-term sectoral benchmarks to limit warming to 1.5°C. Clim. Policy (2017).

20 Some pathways include sinks based on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

21 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Switzerlandʼs energy mix in the buildings sector

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low energy demand
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Natural gas
  • Coal
  • Oil and e-fuels
  • Biomass
  • Biogas
  • Biofuel
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Hydrogen

Switzerlandʼs buildings sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible buildings sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, heat and biomass in the buildings final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Switzerland

Decarbonised buildings sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
4 to 6
2 to 4
1 to 2
Relative to reference year in %
−63 to −45%
−85 to −67%
−92 to −84%
Share of electricity
55 to 62
70 to 74
78 to 84
Share of heat
4 to 9
8 to 11
10 to 12
Share of hydrogen
0 to 4
0 to 16
0 to 16