Paying more for meat to combat climate change? Swiss public says no

Paying more for meat to combat climate change? Swiss public says no

A new study on climate change in Switzerland has discovered that seven out of 10 people still eat meat on a regular basis, with around 40 percent of respondents saying they were not prepared to pay any more than meat currently costs. The study also raised the alarm on how little people in Switzerland are willing to pay to stop climate change, as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow gets underway.

People in Switzerland do not want to eat less meat

Despite meat consumption decreasing in Switzerland over the last two decades, particularly in Swiss cities, only 14 percent of the population claims to eat meat once a week or less. On average, a person in Switzerland spends 60 Swiss francs a month on meat, and researchers found the majority are not willing to pay much more.

There has been debate in Switzerland around whether meat should be a subject of a new tax to reduce carbon emissions, but the study found few people beyond animal rights groups were in favour of the move. Eating less meat was one of the questions in the study, whose goal was to see how much people in Switzerland would pay to stop climate change.

Swiss voters are resistant to climate change policies

Apparently, very few people in Switzerland are willing to pay for “carbon neutrality by 2050.” 67 percent of respondents said they would not accept increased prices for fuel or new vehicle taxes. When it came to housing, 60 percent wanted to pay little or nothing at all to protect their property.

This can also be seen at the ballot box, with Swiss voters rejecting a national referendum for a CO2 tax in June 2021. Ever since, the government has been concerned that it will not have the tools to combat climate change in Switzerland, as action requires a public mandate. 

How will Switzerland be affected by climate change?

As the COP26 climate conference gets underway in Glasgow, experts have explained how Switzerland will be affected by climate change in the future. While it is true Switzerland will not be affected as much as some parts of the world, the impact of climate change will still be felt.

Milder winters to impact ski resorts in Switzerland

Overall, the most profound difference will be seen in the Swiss mountains. As the climate warms, MeteoSwiss estimates that the number of "sub-zero days", essential for skiing and snowboarding, will steadily decline during winter. In the ski resort of Davos, host of the World Economic Forum, the number of sub-zero days fell to 161 days a year in 2018, a new low for the Alps.

Hotter summer season in Switzerland

During the summer, MeteoSwiss predicts that the number of scorching hot days will only increase. In Lucerne in 2018, there were 17 days with a temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius, compared with 1886 where there were only two. As the summer and winter seasons get warmer, snowmelt flowing into Swiss rivers will become unpredictable, leading to flooding in and around Swiss lakes and in major cities like Zurich, Basel and Geneva.

People in Switzerland produce large amounts of CO2

While MeteoSwiss concedes that Switzerland is not the largest emitter of CO2, it does note that the average emission per person in Switzerland is more than twice the global average. As the world tries the combat climate change, it is clear that Switzerland must play its part.

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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