Swiss get behind net-zero climate law

GENEVA: The Swiss on Sunday (Jun 18) backed a new climate Bill aimed at steering their country of melting glaciers towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

Leading Swiss glaciologist Matthias Huss, who has closely followed the glaciers’ decline, hailed in a tweet the “strong signal” sent by Sunday’s vote, saying he was “very happy the arguments of climate science were heard”.

Socialist Party parliamentarian Valerie Piller Carrard celebrated the vote as “an important step for future generations”.

A full 59.1 per cent of voters supported the new law, which will require Switzerland to slash its dependence on imported oil and gas and scale up the development and use of greener and more homegrown alternatives.

Voters also backed adopting a global minimum tax rate of 15 per cent for multinational corporations in a second referendum, with 78.5 per cent in favour.

Voter participation in the referendums stood at around 42 per cent.

Recent opinion polls had indicated strong but slipping support for the climate Bill in the context of a campaign around electricity shortages and economic ruin driven by the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the only Swiss party against the climate Bill.

Supporters said the law was needed to ensure energy security and independence, and to help address the ravages of climate change – highlighted by the melting of glaciers in the Swiss Alps. They have lost a third of their ice volume between 2001 and 2022.