All scenarios of the IPCC Special Report on the 1.5 °C target that allow the world to stay under 1.5 degrees Celsius and most of the scenarios that are compatible with limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius (IPCC SR15, AR5) rely on the removal of large volumes of CO₂ from the atmosphere (also referred to as carbon sinks or negative emissions)– up to 730 billion tonnes cumulatively by 2100. This is nearly 15 times the amount of current global annual CO2 emissions.
Recently, the scale-up of atmospheric carbon removal technologies and practices has gained more attention globally and on the Swiss climate policy agenda. In 2018, the Bundesrat ratified Postulate 18.4211 that enquired about the role of negative emissions in Switzerland’s climate policy framework. In 2019,negative emissions were incorporated into the Swiss long-term climate strategy based on a report and project led by the Risk Dialogue Foundation. In 2020, the Bundesrat then published a report in response to 18.4211 in conjunction with a draft counterproposal to the “Gletscherinitiative”, all three of which include the use of carbon sinks to remove unavoidable emissions to reach net-zero by 2050.
The conclusion is clear: To reach the Swiss climate goals and the goals of the Paris Agreement, safe and permanent carbon sinks using both nature-based and technology-based approaches (aka ‘negative emissions’) have to be urgently developed and scaled up. If the world starts acting now, carbon removal activities will globally already require an annual growth rate of over 60%. Delaying the scale-up to 2025 will require an annual growth of 80% andif the scale-up were to start in 2030 only,the global carbon removal capacity would have to double every year. This poses a tremendous challenge but also provides Switzerland with an opportunityto lead in what is destined to become one of the fastest growing sectors in a global economy undergoing a fundamental green transformation.
Further good news is that the carbon removal technologies, practices and solutions needed have already been developed and Switzerland is a leading player in some of these areas, such as the production of carbon-negative cement or direct air capture.
It is important to highlight, however, that the wider deployment of carbon sinks must happen in addition and in parallel to steep emissions reductions through conventional mitigation measures such as energy efficiency, renewable energies and industrial carbon capture and storage. Only with both strategies combined – emissions reduction and atmospheric carbon removal – we will be able to address and avoid catastrophic climate change.This requires multi-level cooperation and a dialogue with and among governments, policymakers, businesses, researchers, engineers and civil society actors from both Switzerland and abroad in order to spur innovation and set the appropriate guardrails to guide further growth of this sector.
Vision & Mission
Current research shows that there is no single solution for carbon sinksthat could be deployed at scale to remove hundreds of gigatonnes of CO₂ from the atmosphere by the end of this century. Carbon removal technologies and practices face varying domestic contexts as well as environmental and physical limits that determine where and to what extent they can be deployed.. This is why one needs to look at carbon sinks as a portfolio of options that will complement one another in different locations and timeframes.
The focus of the Swiss Carbon Sinks Platform is on fostering innovation of natural, engineered and hybrid approaches with the potential for permanent removal of CO2. Examples are biochar, direct air capture and bio-energy with carbon capture and storage, enhanced weathering on land and in the oceans, soil carbon sequestration, mineralisation in building materials and the use of wood in lasting products and materials. We also actively seek to foster innovation on the use of atmospheric CO₂ in products. This includes,for example, e-fuels for aviation ormaterials and chemicals. They prevent new fossil carbon from being emitted into our atmospherewhile also providing new revenue streams and helpingdeliver the economies of scale and cost reductions for atmospheric capture technologies needed.
The Swiss Carbon Sinks Platform aims at bringing all these solutions together to create an environment for innovation and to provide a platform for policymakers and the Swiss public to learn more about carbon sinks. This fosters a common understanding of the role of carbon sinks and what societal concerns might have to be addressed and offers the opportunity to discuss conditions and policies needed to support the scale-up of carbon sinks. As such, the Swiss Carbon Sinks Initiative aims to be a unique partnership of Swiss but also international actors. We welcome carbon sink developers, sponsors, research centers, academia, think tanks and NGOs.
. We deliver our mission through a broad set of activities including:
- Networking and joint development of innovation with members (joint innovation projects)
- Creation of a knowledge-sharing platform as a key source for high-quality and accurate data about carbon sinks in Switzerland
- Dialogue and education towards the general public, keydecision-makers and influencers through organisation of events or webinars
- Cooperation with external industry, policy and civil society’champions’ to broadly communicate on carbon sinks
- Active collaboration with state entities and environmentalorganisations to support science-based public engagement in response to the effects of carbon removal technologies and practices
Become a member
Membership in the Swiss Carbon Sinks Initiative is open to a wide range of organisations providing they meet one of the following criteria:
- They fully support the platform objectives.
- They are, or want to become active in Switzerland as a technology developer, retailer, distributor, promoter or buyer of carbon sinks or;
- They are a national research entity, higher education institution,think-tank, public or civil society organisation dedicated fully or partially to contributing to research, innovation and communication in the area of carbon sink technologies and approaches.
If you are interested, please get in touch with us at email@example.com