MONET 2030: Greenhouse gas emissions

SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Swiss target 13.2: Greenhouse gases are down by at least 50 per cent compared with 1990. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to net zero by 2050 at the latest.

Significance of the indicator
This indicator shows the quantity of greenhouse gas emitted each year. The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon but its balance is upset by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, especially from the combustion of fuels and fossil fuels, industrial processes and agricultural production. As the natural balance of atmospheric processes must be maintained, sustainable development requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Help for interpretation
The indicator does not include emissions from international air traffic. The decrease in 2020 is explained in particular by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International comparability: The indicator is an international standard. It is on the list of Eurostat, EEA (European Environment Agency) and OECD indicators.



The indicator shows trends in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990 in million tonnes CO2 equivalents. The values correspond to gross emissions, without the carbon sink by forests or emissions certificates.

Under the Paris Agreement, Switzerland is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 % compared with the 1990 level by 2030 and by an average of at least 35 % over the 2021–2030 period. The review of the target achievement will consider the accountable carbon sink resulting from the CO2 storage by the vegetation and soils as well as international attestations.

At the national level, international commitments are implemented through CO2 legislation, which defines national targets, intermediate targets and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The greenhouse gases defined in the CO2-Act and the Kyoto Protocol are carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4) and synthetic gases (HFC; PFC and SF6). To calculate total greenhouse gas emissions in million tonnes CO2 equivalents, the global warming potential (GWP) of each greenhouse gas is evaluated and converted in to CO2-equivalents. The GWP of gases is calculated based on their physical properties and their persistence in the atmosphere: CO2 is used as the reference and by definition has a GWP of 1. 1kg of CH4 corresponds to 25kg of CO2 and 1kg of N2O to 298kg of CO2 (conversion values valid for a period of 100 years according to the IPCC, 2005).

Data included in the greenhouse gas emissions calculation are taken from Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions inventory. This inventory is compiled by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), in line with guidelines from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for industrialised countries and from the technical handbooks from the intergovernmental panel of experts on climate change (IPCC). These instructions are binding for all member States of the Framework Convention. The greenhouse gas emissions are published every year by the FOEN. The greenhouse gas emissions inventory does not take into account variations in emissions due to weather conditions. With regard to emissions from international air traffic, they appear in the greenhouse gas inventory, in line with decisions made within the Framework Convention on Climate Change, but not in the national total of emissions.


Swiss target 13.2: Greenhouse gases are down by at least 50 per cent compared with 1990. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to net zero by 2050 at the latest.

International target 13.2: Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning


Federal Statistical Office Section Environment, Sustainable Development, Territory
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