COP26: Small but more significant steps forward

Climate change is a global development and can only be achieved through joint action by all countries. Therefore, international cooperation plays the most important role in combating climate change. National ambitions can also be achieved more efficiently and effectively if measures are coordinated internationally. Official Switzerland knows this too, which is why the upcoming conference will be prominently supported by the visit of three members of the Federal Councils.

Switzerland is the first country to have many bilateral agreements.

Switzerland is also a leader in negotiating bilateral agreements to jointly reduce greenhouse gases. We are the first country to have already concluded five such agreements and we must reinforce this approach at COP26 and make it better known. On this basis, more comprehensive agreements can then be taken up next – the so-called “multilateral agreements” in accordance with Article 6 paragraph 4 of the Paris Climate Agreement. It is good that COP26 will be able to lay the groundwork in this regard. These are small but more important steps towards better international cooperation.

Collaboration is the key to the hack.

Ultimately, one of the goals of climate policy is to achieve comparable prices for greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. There are different ways to do this, through emissions trading systems, direct carbon dioxide taxes, or via bilateral and multilateral agreements. The latter approach will be the focus of the climate conference. So far, there is a global patchwork quilt with many countries without any measures. But also large emitting countries such as Europe, the United States and China are working on a common path. They are discussing the creation of the so-called “climate club”, that is, the union of countries for a common policy with similar rules of the game.

Is it possible to create a climate club with a border adjustment mechanism?

The EU Green Deal, in order. The Fit-for-55 is, after all, such a climate club. For incentives to be properly identified, such a system must also be protected. Therefore, the European Union is discussing the mechanisms of border adjustment. The United States has already made such considerations. This is true in terms of climate policy, which is why we support such approaches. However, one must remain cautious regarding trade policy. Switzerland cannot establish a separate mechanism for adjusting borders. There are also significant trade risks to the EU, which is why it should support integration and politics more broadly. Perhaps COP 26 will also provide an opportunity to do so.

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