Switzerland Has Clean Energy and One Third of US CO2 Emissions Per Person

Switzerland gets 95% of its electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric power. Both nuclear and hydro have almost zero CO2 emissions. Switzerland has a population of 8.5 million people.

Switzerland gets electricity from
Hydropower plants, 56% and
Nuclear power plants, 39%.

Switzerland has the lowest per person CO2 emissions of a developed country.

Switzerlands emissions were mainly cars and trucks, houses and industry.

France emits 5.2 tons of CO2 per person and gets about 80% of electricity from nuclear energy. France has a population of 67 million people.

Sweden emits 5.1 tons of CO2 per person. Sweden’s energy mix is nuclear, hydro and wind power.

Germany is at 9.7 tons of CO2 per person. Germany is at 40% coal power, 9% natural gas, 9% biomass and 30% solar and wind. Germany gets 13% from nuclear and 4% from hydro.

Canada, USA and Australia are up around 15.5-17 tons of CO2 per person.

27 thoughts on “Switzerland Has Clean Energy and One Third of US CO2 Emissions Per Person”

  1. There are two equations, the apples, and the oranges. Oranges is transportation, for which you are right.
    The apples is stationary energy use: industry, home heating/cooling, electricity.
    The US doesn’t seem to give a rat’s ass how it generates electricity vis-a-vis global warming. This is significantly due to Republican denialism. When America realizes that CO2 is a problem they will get serious about getting rid of coal, the gas, and oil as sources of electricity generation and home heat. They will replace it with CO2 neutral methods.

    Because of the oranges, he results may not be as good as Switzerland’s, but they will be a lot better.

  2. The largest nuclear power plant in the US ( and the largest power plant of any type there ) is Palo Verde, which is cooled by sewage water pumped from Phoenix.

  3. The current Swiss government is planning to phase out all its nuclear reactors – a shame, since all the Greenpeace-sponsored referenda trying to get them shut down early were rejected.

  4. And only about 5 million people…
    Switzerland about 8.5 million.

    Switzerland is like that because it is Switzerland: few people, its banking system (!).
    Not surprisingly, Luxembourg is similarly rich per capita: very small country, few people, old banking system.

    Countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Kuwait, Qatar and to a lesser extent Norway, are so prosperous per capita largely because they are small niche players in a big world.
    If they had to exist on their own, their prosperity would drop precipitously.

    The comparisons with Canada, Australia, Germany and France make more sense.

  5. I sometimes choose a commute that is 1 hour 15 minutes to work, 1:30 back home.

    But it has much better scenery when I go that way. And some jumps. And a couple of steep rocky slopes I’m still trying to master. And I know at least one guy who was taken out by a rogue kangaroo (his replacement knees are healing well). And another who was swept away by a river (he was able to struggle out, someone found his bike and backpack days later downstream.) And another who came back with lots of photos of snakes blocking his path.

    If it was through the city I’d be trying to make it shorter.

  6. Switzerland has an economy that’s 27% of that of India (GDP), or pretty much the same size as Turkey’s economy. It is within the 20 largest economies globally.

  7. dam the grand canyon with a series of big Hoover dams and make death valley a fresh water inland sea , a really deep one.

  8. Norway gets 100% of it’s electricity from hydro. Ergo, we should all move to Norway.
    Norway doesn’t have any manufacturing to speak of, so we should stop making things. They ski a lot, so we should learn that too. Norway makes 3x as much money on interest on their oil fund every year than they do drilling oil and gas, so we should invest money instead of making gasoline and plastics and fertilizers. Norwegians are tall and blond, and generally pretty good looking. I am not sure if plastic surgery to look Norwegian is beneficial to the planet, but could be fun to try.

  9. Not an intelligent juxtaposition.

    Tiny landlocked Switzerland. How many carrier groups does she float? How does Switzerland guarantee the trade routes, protect S. Korea from N. Korea, protect Europe from Russia or the Tigers from China? How many petro deals are priced in Swiss francs?

    Switzerland does its job well. It simply is not a very big job in comparison with some other countries.

  10. All of that flat land has great solar and wind energy potential. Read that the Dakota states could supply the entire electrical needs of the US by themselves.

  11. The number of miles people commute is time limited not miles limited. Most people want their daily commute to be under 2 hrs a day.

  12. https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_transportation#tab2

    Of course, this is just transportation energy and we have to hit electrical generation as well. Nuclear is a clear best choice for the US. Canada just needs to get more hydroelectric built. They still have a lot of good sites. Most of the good ones are used in the US except stuff in National and State Parks…like the Grand Canyon. We have some potential in Alaska, but not much population to use it.

    We also need more solar heating air and water (home/commercial solar thermal not PV) installed…even on warmer days that can be fed into clothes dryers.

  13. I have looked into this. The issue is that trains are already efficient (6x more efficient than truck freight). Trains and buses put together only use 3% of transportation energy. We should convert it…but that is not where be big gains are to be found.

    The biggest gain would be doubling the fuel efficiency of pickup trucks and/or getting most of them off the road. They use 32% of all transportation fuel. We need to hit this hard and get that to a reasonable 10%…perhaps 5%. Outlawing their use as commuter vehicles would be harsh, but the gains would be enormous. But more creative steps may succeed without being so draconian. Requiring makers to get 30mpg CITY! and then getting a trade-in program going where the traded in vehicles are crushed.

    They rarely ever retire these things. They just keep rebuilding them. They have to get in a major wreck or they stay in use. According to my calculations, over 94% of these things manufactured since 1985 are still on the road sucking down fuel.

    The next biggest gain would be getting most freight moved by rail rather than truck. It is split pretty evenly right now, but our rail network is the largest in the world and could easily accommodate most of the freight. It would be because it is so much more efficient, except that FDR intentionally inflated costs dramatically when he made the RRB…trying to increase wages during the Depression. Semis use about 20% of the transportation energy. But I think that could be cut to 10%.

  14. This is why we should send refugees from Central America and Africa to Switzerland. If they come to the USA, they will use far too much energy and kill the world with global warming.

  15. The USA should immediately embark on converting all the flat and low lying states to high, snow capped mountains. The benefits for the environment are obvious:

    • Easy construction of enough hydro power to replace all coal and gas plants.
    • A multitude of close, high quality ski fields to prevent people flying all the way to Colorado.
    • Better quality cheese and chocolate
    • Immunity to sea level rises
  16. Apples and oranges comparison largely due to the difference in meeting transportation challenges? An example–length of the I-10 roadway within Texas state is about 960 miles / 1600 km. Texas is larger than either Spain or France. A country with the area of Switzerland could nearly fit within the Texas panhandle.

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