Swiss cabinet proposes 20-30 percent CO2 cut by 2020

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government proposed on Wednesday a cut in carbon dioxide emissions of 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, or a cut of up to 30 percent if a global climate pact is agreed in Copenhagen later this year.

The Swiss cabinet said in a statement it had handed the plans that will amend a law governing emissions up to 2012 to parliament for approval, but would make further changes if the Copenhagen meeting agrees a deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

A U.N. panel of climate experts called in 2007 for cuts of between 25 and 40 percent by 2020 to avoid the worst of global warming such as more droughts, heatwaves, species extinctions and rising seas.

Developing nations led by China and India want industrialized countries to cut emissions by at least 40 percent -- saying that evidence of climate change is getting worse -- as the price for the poor to start acting to curb rising emissions.

The Swiss proposal is in line with that proposed by the European Union -- of which it is not a member -- and larger than the average cuts planned by industrialized nations of between 10 and 14 percent.

But it does not go as far as the demands of a public referendum proposal for a cut of at least 30 percent.

The Swiss government is proposing a range of measures to help cut emissions, including extra taxes on fuel, support for building insulation and renewable energy, tighter emission rules for new cars and improvement of its emissions trading system.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson, editing by Tim Pearce