Switzerland urges greater climate commitment at COP26

Swiss President Guy Parmelin added his calls for action at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Keystone / Andy Buchanan

Swiss President Guy Parmelin has called on all countries to renew efforts to meet climate goals outlined six years ago by the Paris Agreement.

This content was published on November 1, 2021 - 19:56

Speaking at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday, Parmelin said that global warming has already reached critical levels.

“A child born in my country today will experience four times as many extreme [climate] events in their life as their grandparents. This child will experience five times as many heat waves as I experienced”, he told global leaders. “As an Alpine country, Switzerland is particularly affected by climate change.”

Parmelin, who holds the rotating Swiss presidency this year, referred to melting glaciers and permafrost that are making Alpine ranges unstable.

“We have to get back on the road to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, we have to establish robust rules for implementing the agreement, and finally raise the funds to make our common goal a reality,” said Parmelin.

“Today Switzerland reaffirms its commitment to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in line with the scientific recommendations. Switzerland has also committed to climate neutrality by 2050.”


However, Switzerland has been criticised for not going far enough in its commitments. If all countries follow Switzerland's path, the planet's temperature could rise by four degrees Celsius by the end of the century, some critics contend. 

Parmelin said Switzerland would continue to contribute additional millions of francs to funds that finance climate change projects in developing countries.

The planet has already warmed up by around 1.1 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. In Paris, six years ago, the international community agreed to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees, preferably 1.5 degrees.

So far, the plans submitted by most countries are widely criticised for going nowhere near far enough to achieving this goal.

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