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Point of view: Switzerland needs help with its climate policy

Hans Weber is director of CIPRA Switzerland (c) CIPRA Schweiz

Switzerland was formerly a leading light in environmental policy. Today, sadly, it does not even have a plan for implementing the goals of the Paris climate agreement, says Hans Weber, executive director of CIPRA Switzerland.

The Swiss Federal Assembly endorsed the climate agreement, negotiated by the United Nations in Paris in December 2015, and assembly member Doris Leuthard signed it in New York in April 2016 together with 174 other countries. Switzerland thus undertook the task of contributing toward the reduction of worldwide CO2 emissions after 2020. But one of the richest countries in the world lacks the political will to continue its role of innovative pioneer, without which the goals of the agreement cannot be attained. Switzerland risks missing out on important developments, and this will in the long term harm both its image as well as science and the economy.

The country would be well advised to go on the offensive and reprise its former role as a pioneer in energy and environmental policy. This would foster and support relevant innovations while opening up the discussion of taboo topics. Transport running on fossil fuels must be urgently reduced. By transporting and consuming numerous climate-damaging goods from abroad, the Swiss people also bear a large responsibility for climate protection activities in other countries. Switzerland, as a financial centre and through its pension fund investment policies, has a very powerful financial policy lever for shaping a future that is free of fossil fuels and in harmony with the 2050 energy strategy – from which, unfortunately, all the teeth have recently been pulled. Here, too, the measures decided thus far will only permit a halfway achievement of the goals. Firm control measures are needed.

On 2 June, the 67 organizations making up the Swiss climate alliance from the areas of environmental, development and social matters, including CIPRA Switzerland, will present a detailed climate master plan in Berne for the implementation of the climate agreement in Switzerland. It is still not too late for a bold and appropriate action plan for the country, as Switzerland has the necessary resources, money, education and a very high standard of living.

Source and further information: www.klimaallianz.ch (de/fr/it), www.bfe.admin.ch/themen/00526/00527/index.html (de)