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CO2 legislation: more courage needed

Jul 06, 2021
While the new CO2 law in Switzerland has for the time being failed, a climate protection alliance is forming in Bavaria; Austria is discussing a climate protection law; and in France the Climate Council is taking courageous decisions.
Image caption:
Climate-neutral business: the initiative for a new law has for the time being failed in Switzerland.

In a vote in mid-June, the Swiss proposal for a CO2 law failed by a narrow margin of 49%, along with two initiatives against pesticides in agriculture. All major parties except the right-wing conservative SVP had mobilised in favour of the law. More than 90 civil society organisations and 200 companies supported the bill, which would have halved Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Kaspar Schuler, Executive Director of CIPRA International, is disappointed: “We very much regret that the CO2 law has failed in the wake of the rejection of radical agricultural initiatives”. Schuler is now hoping for the Glacier Initiative, which wants to anchor the Paris climate targets in the Swiss constitution. “That would be the silver bullet.”

Currently, also in Bavaria/D, an alliance of environmental, homeland and planning associations is calling on the state government to act more boldly on climate protection and has presented a “six-point plan” for this purpose. The demands are similar to those of the Swiss initiative – encompassing sustainable mobility, regional cycles in agriculture and forestry, and the expansion of renewable energies.

From a petition for a referendum to a climate council

Following last year’s climate petition that attracted 380,000 signatures, the Austrian National Council decided on the key points for a new climate protection law at the beginning of 2021. It should allow for a climate cabinet, a scientific advisory board and a climate council for citizens. What such a climate council could achieve is currently being demonstrated in France. The 150 citizens sitting on the climate council have passed a number of courageous resolutions: among others, a motorway speed limit of 110 km/h, a ban on domestic flights from 2025, no new airports, and no more advertising for climate-damaging products such as cars. This is to be financed by a climate tax on the wealthy. Climate protection is also to be anchored in the constitution here – by referendum.

 

Sources and further information: www.srf.ch/news/abstimmungen-13-juni-2021/co2-gesetz/abstimmungen-13-juni-co2-gesetz-erleidet-schiffbruch (de),  www.sueddeutsche.de/bayern/bayern-klimaschutz-buendnis-sechs-punkte-plan-1.5323625 (de), www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2020-06/klimapolitik-frankreich-buergerrat-klimaschutz-gelbwesten-direkte-demokratie (de), www.derstandard.at/story/2000125404549/klimapolitik-in-der-krise-verzoegerte-meilensteine-neue-gremien-und-trugschluesse (de)