Leuthard’s Plea in Durban: «Climate Regime has to Reflect Today’s Reality»

Bern, Press release, 08.12.2011

On the occasion of her participation in the UN Climate Conference in Durban, Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard stressed the importance of the commitment of all major emitters for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Ms Leuthard held meetings with several environmental ministers from Europe, Africa and Asia in Durban.

In her address to the UN Climate Conference in Durban (South Africa) on 8 December 2011, Doris Leuthard called for today's reality to be taken into account in the quest for solutions to the climate problem. «The current regime, building on a simplistic distinction between developed countries with specific obligations and developing countries without such obligations, is clearly no solution to today's challenge,» said the Head of the Department for the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC).

Less than 45 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions currently originate from industrialised countries. «Today, many developing countries have higher per capita emissions than developed countries. The new regime has to reflect these realities.» For this reason, Switzerland is pleading for the establishment of a comprehensive legally-binding agreement that would be applicable to all major emitters and be based on common but differentiated responsiblities and corresponding capabilities.

The development of a comprehensive climate regime will take time, Federal Councillor Leuthard explained. «But we have to start to build this regime here and now in Durban. We need to agree on a vision of a single, comprehensive and legally binding instrument that must be in place by 2020.» A mandate must be agreed on in Durban for the negotiation of such an instrument and on a roadmap that will guide the entire develoment process to a successful conculsion. Switzerland will continue with the implementation of its ambitious domestic policy for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions up to 2020. It will also renew its international commitment in the context of a second Kyoto period «if all major emitters accept ambitious commitments commensurate with their capabilties,» continued Federal Councillor Leuthard. 

Federal Councillor Leuthard met with her ministerial counterparts from Germany (Norbert Röttgen), Norway (Erik Solheim), Indonesia (Balthasar Kambuya) and New Zealand (Tim Groser) in Durban. Their discussions focused on the challenges and obstacles on the path to a comprehensive and binding climate agreement. She also exchanged views with Prince Albert of Monaco, whose country forms the EIG (Environment Integrity Group) negotiating group together with Switzerland, Mexico, South Korea and Liechtenstein. Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard also met various African ministers at a meeting of the ministerial representatives of francophone countries.

Further information:

Statement delivered by Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard
FOEN Focus: 17th UN Climate Change Conference in Durban

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Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs