Projections indicate Swiss approve climate bill amid melting glaciers

A majority of Swiss citizens on Sunday voted in favour of a bill aimed at introducing new climate measures to sharply curb the rich Alpine nation's greenhouse gas emissions, projections indicated

Voting, elections, Polls, Votes

AP Berlin

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A majority of Swiss citizens on Sunday voted in favour of a bill aimed at introducing new climate measures to sharply curb the rich Alpine nation's greenhouse gas emissions, projections indicated.
Projections by the GFS Bern Institute based on near-complete counting and released by public broadcaster SRF showed that 58.3% of voters were in favour of the bill.
The margin of error was plus or minus 2 percentage points, SRF reported.
Exact results are expected later in the day.
The referendum was sparked by a campaign by scientists and environmentalists to save Switzerland's iconic glaciers, which are melting away at an alarming rate.
Campaigners initially proposed even more ambitious measures but later backed a government plan that requires Switzerland to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
It also sets aside more than 3 billion Swiss francs ($3.357 billion) to help wean companies and homeowners off fossil fuels.
The nationalist Swiss People's Party, which demanded the popular vote, had claimed that the proposed measures would cause electricity prices to rise.
Backers of the plan argued that Switzerland will be hard-hit by global warming and is already seeing the effects of rising temperatures on its famous glaciers.
The supporters have reason to rejoice, Urs Bieri of the GFS Bern Institute told SRF.
"But by no means everyone is in favour of the law. The argument with the costs has brought many no' votes.
Greenpeace Switzerland welcomed the first results of the referendum.
"This victory means that at last the goal of achieving net zero emissions will be anchored in law. That gives better security for planning ahead and allows our country to take the path toward an exit from fossil fuels, said Georg Klingler, an expert on climate and energy at Greenpeace Switzerland.
The result of the vote shows that the citizens of our country are committed to the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 Celsius in order to preserve as much as possible our glaciers, our water reserves, our agriculture and our prosperity. I am very relieved to see that the lies disseminated by the opposite camp during the campaign did not sow the seed of doubt in people, he added.

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Swiss glaciers experienced record melting last year, losing more than 6% of their volume and alarming scientists who say a loss of 2% would once have been considered extreme.
Experts such as Matthias Huss, a glaciologist at the Swiss Institute for Technology in Zurich, have taken to posting dramatic snapshots of retreating glaciers and rockslides from melting permafrost on social media to highlight the changes taking place in the Alps.
Let's act as long as we can still prevent the worst, he recently wrote on Twitter.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Jun 18 2023 | 8:45 PM IST

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