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Switzerland Sectors

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

Energy-related GHG emissions from Switzerland’s industry sector have fallen considerably since 1990, declining by 32% by 2020, with most of this decline occurring in the last decade.2 This has primarily been achieved through fuel switching, with coal and oil demand falling by 74% and 60% respectively between 1990 and 2020, largely replaced with gas and biomass. Process emissions, in contrast, have risen slightly since 1990, driven higher by a steep increase in the use of HFCs, more than offsetting a one third reduction in emissions from cement production over this time.

Switzerland’s main policy tool for reducing industry sector emissions is its CO₂ Act, which includes a CO₂ levy on heating and process fuels and the Swiss emissions trading system (ETS). Several key non-CO₂ emissions are not covered by the Act, however, and are targeted separately, including provisions targeting F-gases.16 The Swiss ETS was linked to the EU’s much larger system in January 2020, and since then, allowance prices have risen considerably, roughly in line with rising EU ETS allowance prices after trending far below them between 2018 and 2020.17

To align with 1.5°C pathways, Swiss direct industry emissions would need to fall by more than a third below 2019 levels by 2030, and the sector should be completely decarbonised between 2040 and 2050. In addition, the industry electrification rate should increase to at least 50% 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 industry 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
  • Biofuel
  • Biogas
  • Biomass
  • Hydrogen
  • Electricity
  • Heat

Switzerlandʼs industry sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)


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

Switzerlandʼs GHG emissions from industrial processes


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

1.5°C compatible industry sector benchmarks

Direct CO₂ emissions, direct electrification rates, and combined shares of electricity, hydrogen and biomass from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Switzerland

Decarbonised industry sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
2042 to 2048
Relative to reference year in %
−49 to −35%
−79 to −75%
−94 to −93%
Share of electricity
50 to 54
67 to 69
Share of electricity, hydrogren and biomass
58 to 68
70 to 85
77 to 86