Climate conference

Switzerland must be a pioneer in climate policy

Countries are doing far too little to stop climate change, with devastating consequences for developing countries. In its new position paper on the climate crisis, Caritas is calling on Switzerland to take responsibility and assume a leading role at the climate conference in Poland starting on 3 December – out of solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable communities, but also in the country's own interest.


The latest Special Report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is alarming. At issue is whether humanity can achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the beginning of the industrial era. The 1.5 degree mark was set to prevent dangerous tipping points in the climate system with unpredictable consequences. The climate report shows that the world is on course to miss the targets. The current commitments of countries which have signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change indicate that the planet is on track for three to four degrees of warming.

Will the climate summit provide the right answers?

At the UN climate summit in Poland, the international community now wants to adopt a set of rules governing the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. Among other things, the rules define uniform requirements for national reduction targets applicable to all countries and the offsetting of emission reductions achieved abroad. The climate report published by the IPCC researchers has already made clear that this is not enough. Farreaching and ambitious commitments for the rapid reduction of CO2 are urgently needed. Moreover, the countries most impacted urgently need support to adapt to the consequences of the climate crisis, which threaten the livelihoods of millions of people.

Caritas's assessment of what needs to be done

Caritas considers that Switzerland should take decisive action in matters of climate policy:

  • Switzerland must assume a leading role in climate policy in the negotiations in Poland – out of solidarity with the poorest and most vulnerable communities in developing countries, but also strongly in its own interest, since Switzerland will be hit hard if climate change cannot be stopped. The Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) have demonstrated just how perilous the situation is in their latest "Climate Scenarios CH 2018".
  • Switzerland must set ambitious targets with its CO2 Act, which is being discussed in the National Council commencing 3 December. Current proposals by the Federal Council and the country's Environment Commission (UREK) clearly miss the 1.5-degree target and other agreements anchored in the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • Switzerland must provide far greater support to poor and climate-exposed developing countries than it does at present, so that they can adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. The new position paper from Caritas shows why more resources are needed for climate-sensitive agriculture and water-saving irrigation methods, water reservoirs and coastal dikes, flood protection, early warning systems and resettlement.


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