While the surrounding European Union is sticking to its guns with 40 percent greenhouse gases emissions reductions by 2030, Switzerland is showing some leadership by targeting 50 percent cuts by 2030. This is a bold move that deserves to inspire people and countries alike.
Having searched the Internet, I found that Swiss electricity comes almost entirely from low carbon sources with 56 percent of hydro and 39 percent of nuclear. The five remaining percent comes from thermal and renewables alike.
The electricity produced in Switzerland emits a tiny 14 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kiloWatt-hour as the local newspaper Le Temps reports. This has to be compared to an average of 353 grams per kWh of average in the European Union and over 600 grams in the United States (source)
As a result, Swiss citizens emits very low level of carbon dioxide per capita, a mere 6.4 tonnes per capita per year, compared to 8.1 tonnnes for the average EU citizen and a massive 17 tonnes for a US one.
This is why the Swiss decision to halve their emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 is a bold, ambitious move. The country is already at levels that would make others dream. Of course, the fact that Switzerland is a rich country surrounded by mountains makes it easy to have massive hydro capacity. The same Alps mountains are seeing their glaciers decrease each year by rapidly warming temperatures.
The Swiss government plans to reach these goals by concentrating its efforts on the transportation and housing sectors. Industry will also have a role to play.
The official statement stresses the point that the decision is in line with the recommendations from the IPCC climate scientists and is made ahead of the Paris climate talks that will take place in December this year.