Plans outlined for allocation of petrol levy

Projects involving solar power are being encouraged Keystone

Some SFr520 million ($401 million) raised from a 1.5-centime climate levy on petrol and diesel will be spent in Switzerland over the next six years.

This content was published on February 3, 2006 - 17:57

Four months after the introduction of the tax, the foundation set up to use the proceeds to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has presented its finance plan.

In all, the tax should raise SFr740 million, around SFr200 million of which will be spent abroad on CO2 credits.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce harmful CO2 emissions by 1.8 million tons a year between 2008 and 2012.

In Switzerland, the Climate Cent Foundation will invest SFr190 million in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The foundation plans to organise three selection rounds for project funding between now and the end of next year.

A further SFr180 million will be spent on a nationwide programme to insulate residential and commercial buildings.

Domestic measures are expected to reduce CO2 emissions by two million tons, Marco Berg, director of the foundation, told a press conference in Bern.

Most of the total reduction – ten million tons – will be achieved through the purchase of carbon credits from other countries.

To meet the targets set down in the Kyoto protocol, countries that don't manage to reduce their CO2 emissions sufficiently can buy emission certificates on a global trading exchange.


Environmental groups have criticised the climate levy from the beginning, arguing that it is a purely cosmetic way of reducing emissions without going to the roots of the problem – the consumption of fossil fuels.

Commenting on the finance plan, Cyrill Studer of Greenpeace said the dangerous cocktail of emissions could only be effectively tackled by measures undertaken within Switzerland.

"Foreign CO2 certificates and financial gifts to householders are irresponsible window-dressing," he added.

The ball is now in the court of the environment ministry, which has until March 1 to examine the foundation's provisional plan. A final plan will be agreed by the end of June 2007.

Set up in June last year, the Climate Cent Foundation is made up of representatives from industry, an association of oil and gas companies, the Swiss Business Federation (economiesuisse) and the Touring Club of Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

By 2010, Switzerland has pledged to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels to 10% below 1990 levels.
Additionally, between 2008 and 2010, CO2 emissions must be reduced by 1.8 million tons a year.
This is required by the Kyoto protocol, which was ratified by Switzerland in 2003.

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