Swiss public transport to become CO2-neutral by 2040

Swiss public transport to become CO2-neutral by 2040

The Swiss Association of Public Transport (VÖV) has announced that all public transport services in Switzerland will be CO2-neutral by 2040. The goal is striking, given that the official goal for net-zero emissions set by the Swiss government remains unchanged at 2050.

Swiss public transport aims for net zero by 2040

In a statement released on May 1, the VÖV announced Energy Strategy 2050 - a plan for how the transportation sector in Switzerland will meet its climate targets. In the plan, authorities confirmed that public transport across every Swiss canton will be CO2-neutral by 2040.

Speaking to 20 Minuten, VÖV director Ueli Stückelberger said that all facets of the industry “want and can be completely CO2-free by 2040." He explained that this goal will be achieved by making sure that all the energy used by buses, trams, trains and boats in the country is from renewable sources. Current data from the Springer Group suggests that transportation - including drivers, airlines and public transport - account for around 30 percent of the country's CO2 emissions.

Swiss transport firms to invest in renewable energy

According to VÖV president Renato Fasciati, while it will be up to individual companies to decide how to meet the goals set out in the plan, the organisation recommended two avenues. First, all members of the organisation have committed to reducing energy consumption by 30 percent by upgrading services, replacing older vehicles and employing more hybrid or electric forms of transport. 

Second, the organisation said it hopes to encourage transport firms to invest more money into building renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydropower plant. For example, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) plans to run all services on 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, and plans to build new solar panels that will be able to produce an extra 30 gigawatt hours of electricity by 2030.

Switzerland's climate goals hang in the balance

The announcement comes amid consistent criticism from the international community regarding Switzerland’s position on climate change. While the government has committed to being climate-neutral by 2050, policies designed to achieve said goal have failed to be implemented - with most falling foul of Swiss citizens at referendums.

With the announcement, the VÖV said it wanted to help federal authorities reach their goal of net zero by 2050. However, the real test is likely to come on June 18, when an amended version of the Glacier Initiative - that would enshrine the net-zero goal into Swiss law and finally allow the government to take targeted action - will face a vote.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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