As glaciers melt in Switzerland, voters support carbon curbs.
Switzerland’s voters have approved a new climate measure aimed at reducing fossil fuel use and achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
As glaciers in the Swiss Alps melt rapidly, the government believes the country must defend its energy security and the environment.
The regulation will necessitate a shift away from reliance on imported oil and gas and toward the usage of renewable energy sources.
Green energy measures were supported by 59.1% of voters in Sunday’s ballot.
Opponents claimed the measures will raise energy prices.
Except for the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), which provoked the referendum after objecting to the government’s proposals, nearly all of Switzerland’s main parties supported the law.
Switzerland imports around three-quarters of its energy, with all oil and natural gas consumed originating from outside the country.
The climate law commits 2 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion; £1.7 billion) over a decade to promote the replacement of gas or oil heating systems with climate-friendly alternatives, as well as SFr1.2 billion to encourage firms to invest in green innovation.
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It occurs at a time when glaciers in the Alps are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures caused by climate change. Between 2001 and 2022, they lost one-third of their ice volume.
Leading Swiss glaciologist Matthias Huss, who has closely monitored glacier retreat, praised the “strong signal” delivered by Sunday’s decision, adding on Twitter that he was “very happy the arguments of climate science were heard.”
Valerie Piller Carrard, a Socialist Party parliamentarian, called it “an important step for future generations.”
In a second referendum, voters strongly supported plans to impose a 15% global minimum tax on multinational businesses, with 78.5% in favor.
In 2021, Switzerland will join over 140 other countries that have agreed to an OECD agreement to establish a minimum tax rate for large corporations.
Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter praised Switzerland’s “very strong acceptance rate” of the idea to modify the constitution in order for the country to join the pact.
The turnout for Sunday’s referendums was roughly 42%.