Swiss slip in Climate Change Performance Index

People demonstrating against COP26 in Lausanne, November 6 Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Switzerland has dropped one spot, to 15th, in an annual league table that ranks countries according to their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate experts have blamed the failure of the CO2 law at the ballot box.

This content was published on November 9, 2021

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI)External link was released at the COP climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday and looked at performance of around 60 countries who are responsible for more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

German environmental NGO Germanwatch, which compiles the report, said first three rankings were empty as no country performed well enough. Denmark came top overall for 2022. Overall, Scandinavian countries did well, with Sweden and Norway following.

Among the categories measured, Switzerland did well in the Emissions and Energy Use categories, and was ranked medium in Renewable Energy. Where it fell down was in Climate Policy, where it dropped 11 places.

CO2 law failure

“The CCPI experts evaluated the failed CO2 Act as insufficient for reaching the net zero target. They urge the government to enact a more ambitious law as soon as possible,” the CCPI saidExternal link of Switzerland’s performance.

They were referring to the country’s CO2 law, which was rejected by 51.6% of voters in a national ballot in June 2021.

The law was to help the country halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as set out under the Paris Climate Agreement. It would have included a surcharge on diesel and petrol, as well as a tax hike and a levy on plane tickets.

In terms of international policy, CCPI experts acknowledged Switzerland’s “proactive role at the international diplomatic level in promoting transparency and mitigation” but  requested “a higher financial contribution to public climate finance, and strengthening of Switzerland’s engagement in loss and damage”.


In reaction, the NGO WWF Switzerland said that Switzerland’s contribution to maintaining a stable climate “is currently practically zero”, As a rich country, “it must and can do more,” its climate expert Patrick Hofstetter said in a statementExternal link

"Massive expansion of solar power production, a strict domestic climate target by 2030, rapid replacement of oil and gas heating with climate-friendly alternatives  -these steps in cantonal and national climate policy are urgently needed - and highly topical," he added.

In September the government said it plans to present a new revision of the CO2 law before the end of the year which is unlikely to contain any new taxes to fight climate change. 

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