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Swiss could hit CO2 target with $156 billion package-study

ZURICH, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Switzerland could hit the target of halving carbon emissions by 2030 via a package of measures that would cost around 150 billion Swiss francs ($156 billion), or around 2-3% of economic output per year, a study released on Friday suggested.

The report by Boston Consulting Group and the Sustainable Switzerland alliance proposed steps to help transport, buildings, industry and agriculture - which together account for 90% of domestic CO2 emissions - slash carbon output.

These included a push for electric vehicles, heating homes with greener energy, de-carbonising industrial heating processes, and using organic additives like algae to cut methane emissions from livestock.

The study said Switzerland's current approach was not ambitious enough and relied excessively on cutting emissions abroad. It had a special interest to act given temperatures were rising nearly twice as much as the global average and glaciers were melting at a rapid clip.

With its innovative economy and leading universities, Switzerland had the chance to lead the campaign against global warming, it said. Its energy sector was already nearly carbon free given that hydropower and nuclear plants generate more than 90% of Swiss electricity, and another 5% came from solar and wind.

Swiss voters last year narrowly rejected a new law intended to help meet its goal for cutting emissions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, sending the government back to the drawing board.

Its new strategy envisions increasing production from renewables as it phases out nuclear energy, targeting an additional 2 terawatts of greener electricity output by 2040.

But the European energy crisis spawned by Russia's invasion of Ukraine has complicated the political debate as the country scrambles to avoid gas and power outages this winter.

($1 = 0.9636 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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