Basel to become climate-neutral by 2037 after new goal approved

Basel to become climate-neutral by 2037 after new goal approved

At a referendum on November 27, the people of Basel approved a plan that would require the city to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2037. If successful, Basel-Stadt will become the first Swiss canton and the first city in Switzerland to achieve net zero.

Global media criticises Switzerland's climate record

In recent weeks, Switzerland’s reputation on climate change has been called into question. After once being hailed as a driving force behind the push towards net zero emissions, the latest Climate Change Performance Index argued that Switzerland was no longer at the forefront when it comes to combating climate change.

Chief among analysts' concerns was a lack of action by local, city, cantonal and federal governments in Switzerland, as although the country aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, very little legislation has actually been passed to help achieve the goal. Most notably in 2021, Swiss citizens rejected a plan by the government to regulate emissions by 2030, and other proposals like the Glacier Initiative are yet to face the ballot box.

Basel to become climate-neutral by 2037

However, this track record may be about to change, as at a vote on November 27, the people of Basel approved a plan that would require the city to be climate-neutral by 2037. The idea was a counter-proposal to a more radical initiative, which would have seen the city achieve climate neutrality by 2030.

As a consequence of the vote, the cantonal government will now have to set annual targets for reducing carbon emissions, which they say they will achieve via upgrades to energy and housing, and by convincing more people to use public transport or switch to electric cars. According to Blick, the Grand Council of Basel will be responsible for keeping to the target, which they will update every five years.

Basel becomes most ambitious Swiss city and canton for combating climate change

With the success of the proposal, Basel has become the most ambitious city and canton in Switzerland in regard to its climate goals, beating the original most ambitious targets - the 2040 goal set by Zurich and the 2045 goal set by Bern. It also contains more concrete legislation than the official federal government goal, which remains 2050.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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