Bern, Swiss Climate, 02.12.2013
Energy region GOMS makes a contribution to climate protection - with deployment of the software ECORegion

The energy region GOMS is climate-friendly: this was determined in a survey in collaboration with Swiss Climate. By recording the CO2 footprint and implementing various measures to reduce CO2, the energy region GOMS is assuming a pioneering role among tourism regions.

Climate change is real and man-made – this is shown clearly in the fifth UNO climate report that appeared in September. If the climate heats up by approximately 2°C by 2050 as predicted, this will have strong effects specifically on mountain regions. With its alpine glaciers and well developed cross-country and alpine skiing infrastructure, the GOMS region has tourist attractions which predictions indicate will suffer from the considerable effects of climate change. Action for the reduction of greenhouse gases and to stop climate change are therefore needed at all levels. The Federal Government has set the target of reducing the output of climate-damaging gases by 20% by 2020 compared to 1990. In cooperation with the energy region GOMS and Obergoms Tourism, Swiss Climate has now completed a detailed survey that shows for the first time what contribution can be made on a regional level. To do so, the method of the national greenhouse gas inventory was broken down to the regional level and the CO2 balance for GOMS was calculated using the ECORegion software from ECOSPEED. This allows the energy region GOMS to run a comparison with Switzerland as a whole.

One quarter fewer emissions per capita

In the energy region GOMS, the greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 amounted to approximately 5 tons of CO2 equivalent per capita. This means that approximately one quarter less CO2 equivalent per capita than the Swiss average is emitted per year in the energy region GOMS. The reasons for this are diverse. The energy region GOMS promotes projects for the use of local, renewable energy and to enhance energy efficiency. Since the start of the project in 2008, several dozen projects have been completed. From the installation of wood-chip or photovoltaic systems, through programs to promote efficient household appliances, building analyses or solar collectors, all the way to numerous sensitization measures - the population, companies and communities have implemented specific projects. In the area of renewable thermal energy alone (wood chips, district heating, heat pumps), this saves approximately 330 tons of CO2 equivalent per year. This is a considerable amount for a small region such as GOMS. The energy region GOMS is also a genuine Swiss water tower: in numerous power stations, 563 GWh of power was produced from renewable energy, mainly hydroelectric power, in 2012. This means that the region produces approximately 10 times more power than it consumes.

Agriculture and transport as most important emission sources

The results of the total emissions of the region reflect its economic, geographic and demographic structure. With the dominance of agriculture, the emissions in agriculture are more significant than the Swiss average. Its significance as a transit valley with links to three important alpine passes and the poorly developed public transport network also lead to relatively high transport emissions. On the other hand, the emission-extensive economy (above all the service sector) ensures low emissions in the areas of households and business.

Tourism as the most significant sector of the economy

The most significant sector of the economy in the region is the tourism sector. For one inhabitant, there are approximately 187 overnight stays – by way of comparison: across Switzerland, this value is 7.4 overnight stays per inhabitant. However, despite the high energy consumption associated with tourism (e.g. heating the accommodation, operation of the sports infrastructure), the greenhouse gas emissions are lower in comparison with the rest of Switzerland. GOMS places values on soft tourism. Emissions are caused in particular by travel to and from the region. During their stay, guests get around primarily on foot, on bicycles or in winter with cross-country skis or snowshoes. Positive examples are also the regional cross-country ski pass with free use of trains or the good transport facilities for bicycles on trains in the entire region.

To the original article by Swiss Climate