Histoire | Géographie | Économie | Société


Alicia Duvanel, 2002 | Le Locle, NE


To preserve our world from global warming, Switzerland is committed to greenhouse gas neutrality with its objective called “net zero emissions 2050”. I decided to address the implementation of this goal to gain a better understanding of its consequences. The purpose of this study is to analyse what such a target means in terms of CO2. I looked at measures in the building, industry, transportation and electricity production sectors. The aim was to show the impact of some practicable measures, so I researched and proposed actions to create a catalogue and calculated their CO2 savings. My study brings to light some political problems in achieving the goal and shows where the potential is in Switzerland.


To stop global warming and preserve humanity, Switzerland is committed to greenhouse gas neutrality. (I) How can it achieve its target? The Federal Council’s goal says that Switzerland should not emit more greenhouse gases than can be captured. We must reduce our emissions from the building, transportation and industry sectors. The starting point is the Energy Strategy 2050, which includes a nuclear shutdown. My work tries to answer the following question: (II) as part of the program of «net zero emissions 2050», which measures are practicable in the domains of building, industry, transportation and electricity production?


I wanted to give an idea of the impact of reaching the goal. I decided to address only CO2 reduction and to find actions in the building, transportation, industry and electricity production sectors. I read books and articles to find measures and I proposed some others. I present these in tables to show the current situation, the implementation price and advantages, among other things. I also added the opinion of a politician, which helps to see which moves are politically feasible. Therefore, I met with Denis de la Reussille, a “Conseiller national” and “Parti ouvrier et populaire” member.


I suggested eleven measures. By implementing them all, we would save 9,688,793.9 tons of CO2, which equals 22.25% of our total emissions in the four mentioned sectors and 36% of the expected reduction by 2050. Here are the four most efficient ones: The “renovation of buildings constructed up to 1981” saves 1,193,400 tons of CO2. These buildings represent 70% of the country’s housing. The “limitation to 20 kg of CO2 per m2 and per year” has a 2,069,800 ton impact and introduces a CO2 emissions limit per square meter and per year. To “cover 200 km2 with solar panels” means covering all available and well-exposed roofs and facades and would save 3,042,000 tons. Finally, to “cover 750 km of motorways with solar panels” has a 1,505,790 ton impact and consists in covering 40% of our motorways. The most efficient domain is electricity production, followed by building. This is interesting considering that the most polluting sector is transportation, but it can be explained by showing that it is easier to reduce our emissions in the two other domains without reducing individual freedom.


I am far from having achieved the objective. I found some drastic actions, but they are not sufficient. I regret that the financial elements were not addressed enough, although they remain an essential point for this policy implementation. My results show where the potential in Switzerland is. I thought that some of my measures would have a big impact (“Individual budget for air travel of 8986km”, which means limiting the air mileage per year and per inhabitant), but some were not that efficient. I have gained a better understanding of the potential of taking action in Switzerland. I saw possible moves and understood how complicated this issue is. We must act strongly if we want to achieve the target.


My report discusses two political goals: decarbonization and nuclear shutdown. As I consider global warming the priority, we must stop using fuel to produce electricity before replacing nuclear energy. Moreover, my study shows that such an issue forces us to make courageous decisions. The Confederation should be given more power in a crisis. With the goal having national importance, a central power must direct it, as in the case of Covid-19. I think that the target is ambitious but necessary to achieve. We have the potential and resources required to achieve it and technological improvements will help us with this ecological transition. Much work still needs to be done. Switzerland estimates to be able to save 95% of our CO2 emissions (from the building, transportation and industry sectors) until 2050. With my measures in these three fields, I would save 9.24% of our total emissions. Many additional actions will have to be found!



Appréciation de l’experte

Sabine Stäuble

Madame Duvanel a rédigé, en anglais, un travail original sur l’objectif de neutralité carbone fixé par la Suisse pour 2050. Son travail présente des pistes intéressantes pour atteindre cet engagement : en calculant de manière précise l’impact des mesures et leur coût, la candidate met en lumière les difficultés que la Suisse rencontrera pour atteindre son objectif, en particulier dans un contexte de sortie du nucléaire. Le travail est synthétique, rigoureux et montre tout l’enthousiasme, ainsi que les préoccupations que Madame Duvanel porte sur le sujet.


très bien




Lycée Denis de Rougemont, Neuchâtel
Enseignant: Jean-Pierre Gyger