Nicole Rodel, Oil Change International –

Switzerland breaks major climate promise on taxpayer finance

11 July 2024 – Switzerland is the first signatory of the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP) to water down its policy to end international public finance for fossil fuels. The country has now also surpassed the United States in providing the most international fossil fuel finance since the end of 2022 deadline passed, providing a total of almost $3.6 billion.

In March 2023, Swiss Export Risk Insurance (SERV) pledged to end all its fossil fuel finance, with exemptions only where it could be proven that the fossil fuel project was in line with the globally-agreed Paris Agreement goal of keeping global average temperatures under 1.5°C.

However, last month SERV quietly watered down its policy, deleting it and its press release from their website, and replacing it with a new one. Doing a side-by-side comparison, the new policy opens up a loophole for midstream gas, as well as loopholes that render the policy meaningless by allowing SERV to fund any project it deems is in the “Economic, foreign, trade and development policy interests of Switzerland.”

This is the first time a CETP signatory has weakened its policy. All other signatories that have altered policies have made them more ambitious. According to Oil Change International, many countries are adhering to the agreement, including the UK, France, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and other major historical fossil fuel financiers.

Switzerland has also recently become one of the main violators of the CETP agreement, surpassing even the United States, according to Oil Change International. SERV has approved the most fossil fuel finance of the CETP signatories since the agreement took effect, providing a total of almost USD 3.6 billion for five fossil fuel projects. This includes almost $2.5 billion for one gas power plant in Turkmenistan, which SERV announced funding for last month.

This policy change comes soon after a group of Swiss senior citizen women won a landmark court case at the European Court of Human Rights, who claimed inaction on the climate crisis by their government put them at greater risk of death from heatwaves.

Adam McGibbon, Public Finance Strategist at Oil Change International, said:

“Switzerland has quickly become one of the worst promise breakers of them all. Our home is burning, but Switzerland is adding fuel to the fire with billions in taxpayer finance for fossil fuels, and covertly slashing their policy to allow any project they choose to go ahead. No scientific basis was provided for this change, because none exists.

“Other countries have kept their promise to end international public finance for fossil fuels. There is no time to lose. Switzerland must take urgent action to end this madness – and they will be held accountable to their promises. Public money that should be going to support a just transition to renewable energy is instead being pumped into more climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects, harming communities.”



  • The lesson from this is that agreements and promises without enforcement mechanisms are fairly worthless, especially if no individuals can be held personally accountable and able to be interrogated. And of course Switzerland is not the first nor the only country to break its promises on climate change matters.

  • If Switzerland breaks its’ promise concerning the health of the world by being the Largest investor for the Fossil Fuel Industry, then it may also stands to reason, that they may not have the best interest of their Financial Clients at heart. Once the lies are out, how do we know where they end, if ever. If memory serves, the Swiss had financial dealings with the Nazi party during the ongoing second world war. Sometimes at the expense of other Clients. There is no “White-Wash” for the Swiss now (after almost eighty years) that they are once again going against the grain for the sake of Profit over People.
    The above is written by an unprejudiced, well traveled, educated, retired businessman of eighty-five, with Children, Grandchildren and Great grandchildren, who have my deepest concern for their future. In order for them, and the rest of civilization who require CLEAN AIR to BREATHE and CLEAN WATER (without chemicals) to Drink and for IRRIGATION. Let that be the goal, of all who proclaim they will do what in necessary to RIGHT the terrible WRONG we have done to MOTHER EARTH.
    CC: Wew, Asl, Dy.

    Allan Weiss

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