Switzerland to become climate neutral by 2050

news 18-Jun-2023 Europe

Switzerland will vote today on a proposed climate protection law aimed at achieving climate neutrality by 2050. However, the country’s largest political party, the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), is vigorously campaigning for a “no” vote in the climate referendum.

Majority support for new climate law

According to opinion polls, more than 60% of Swiss citizens will vote in favor of the government’s climate protection law. Switzerland is committed to becoming climate neutral by 2050 under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Financial incentives for renewable energy

The consumption of fossil fuels will be reduced as much as possible, but not banned. Those who replace their oil, gas, or electric heating systems will receive financial relief. Companies that invest in climate-friendly technologies will also receive support.

Scientists campaign for “yes”

“Campaigning for a ‘yes’ on the climate referendum reflects our Swiss compromise, which characterizes most Swiss issues,” says Reto Knutti, climate researcher at ETH Zurich. He, along with over 200 other scientists, signed an open letter urging a “yes” vote on the climate referendum despite considering the law as having room for improvement.

Switzerland’s largest party against climate law

Almost all political parties in Switzerland and the business association economiesuisse support the climate protection law – but the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) does not. The SVP has put forward the referendum and uses the slogan “A law to consume electricity”. They argue that a “no” vote would help them to save money.

Sharp debate over climate anti-lobby – and scientists

Swiss opponents of the climate protection law are particularly vehement in their efforts to discredit scientists. Prior to Sunday’s vote, a parliamentary delegate and director of the opposition camp, Michael Graber, has stated that politics and science should stick to their respective duties. Klimaforscher Knutti says that he has received threatening letters and mails including forged images and nonsensical statistics.

Second referendum in two years

This is not the first time that the SVP has opposed a climate protection law. In the summer of 2021, the party brought the so-called “CO2 law” to a halt with a referendum. However, opinion polls do not suggest a repeat of this scenario. But ultimately, as always, the Swiss citizens will decide the outcome of the referendum.

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