Minister calls for global commitment on climate

Energy Minister Doris Leuthard speaks at the Climate Summit in New York Keystone

This content was published on September 23, 2014 minutes and agencies

Switzerland, which produces only 0.1% of the world’s global emissions, sets high energy goals for itself. In an address at the United Nations Climate Summit, Environment Minister Doris Leuthard called on the rest of the world to do the same through a global climate change agreement.

Although Switzerland’s gross domestic product has grown by 36% since 1990, Switzerland has reduced its emissions by 8%, Leuthard said.

By 2020, Switzerland plans to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20%, in accordance with the Second Kyoto Protocol. Switzerland is expected to ratify the protocol next year, said Leuthard. In addition, the Swiss Parliament is currently considering legislation that would increase the efficient use of energy and support the use of renewable energy sources.

At the summit, Leuthard said that Switzerland is considering a contribution of CHF100 million ($106 million) to the Green Climate Fund, which is used to finance climate protection projects in developing countries. Switzerland has already contributed $150 million for climate protection measures.

We have the means to stop climate change, said Leuthard. She held out hope that a binding worldwide climate agreement can be agreed at the climate summit to be held in Paris next year.

The summit in New York was an opportunity for world leaders to make nonbinding pledges. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon challenged the attendees to “set the world on a new course. Climate change is the defining issue of our age,” he said. “It is defining our present. Our response will define our future.”

The European Union said its member nations would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, use renewable energy for 27% of its power, and boost energy efficiency by 30%.

Over the next seven years, said Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the European Union would provide €3 billion (nearly $3.9 billion) to help developing countries become more sustainable.

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