Pre-COP in Milan: Federal Councillor Sommaruga calls for robust climate protection

Bern, 03.10.2021 - On 2 October the conference to prepare for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) came to a close in Milan. At this meeting, known as the Pre-COP, a selected group of countries discussed political solutions to certain unresolved issues for the upcoming negotiations. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga advocated for a robust framework for implementing worldwide climate protection.

The Pre-COP in Milan was the last major climate meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. COP26, which runs from 31 October to 12 November, is seeking to implement the climate agreement adopted in 2015.

As head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), Ms Sommaruga held several bilateral meetings in Milan, including with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. The two agreed that countries cannot continue with 'business as usual' in the face of continued global warming and that there is a need for consistency in implementing climate protection measures.

A key point for Switzerland is that the emission reductions achieved by one country through climate protection projects in another should not be double counted, by both the buyer and host countries. If two countries are allowed to offset the same emission reductions, this effectively halves the real gains achieved in climate protection. As Ms Sommaruga pointed out, Glasgow should not stand for any half measures in climate protection. She expressed this same position in discussions with COP26 President Alok Sharma and with Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner for Climate Action.

Furthermore, Ms Sommaruga called for fair and efficient financing of climate protection projects in developing countries. Switzerland expects all parties to the Paris Agreement to support countries particularly affected by climate change according to their means. The business community should also do its part.

A common timeframe for climate targets

Another important question for Switzerland is the period of time for which countries should set their climate targets. Some countries consider five years to be appropriate, while others say ten. Mr Sharma had thus asked Ms Sommaruga, together with Rwanda's Minister for the Environment Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, to come up with a solution on which countries could agree. Switzerland is heavily involved in these negotiations not least because of its own vulnerability: if global warming reaches 2 °C worldwide, the temperature rise faced by Alpine Switzerland will be far greater, as already demonstrated in the past.

Address for enquiries

Franz Perrez, Swiss Ambassador for the Environment, Head of International Affairs, Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Tel. +41 79 251 90 15


General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

Federal Office for the Environment FOEN

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