Swiss government unveils plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050
Switzerland’s environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has unveiled plans drawn up by the government to tackle climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
Minister Sommaruga said that the target is attainable
Thanks to its strong economy and “solid finances”, minister Sommaruga said that she felt the country would be able to reach the ambitious zero-emission target by 2050.
As a country with many mountains and lakes, Switzerland has a vested interest in working to stop climate change, especially to prevent extreme weather events, flooding and natural habitat devastation. 2021 has already brought catastrophic flooding to Lucerne, Bern and Zurich, and has shown the powerful weather events that climate change can cause.
The proposal creates a legal basis for future legislation and, according to Sommaruga, would allow businesses to prepare for change by investing in eco-friendly business solutions and new forms of green technology.
The plan stops short of banning fossil fuels
Though the government wants to push for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the plan does not require the banning of fossil fuels. Instead, the plan encourages the switch to green fuels, however leaves some room for exceptions where alternatives are unavailable.
Parliament now has the opportunity to discuss and amend the government’s proposals, before the plans will be put to a national vote sometime in the next two years.
The plans are a counter to a people’s initiative from 2019
The new government plans are a counter-proposal to a people’s initiative which was handed in by a group of concerned climate organisations in 2019.
The environment minister added that “the government shares the aim of the initiative committee, but it is crucial that the environment policy be accepted by the business community and society, notably people living in rural and remote areas”, and Sommaruga described the new plans as a “broad compromise”.
Environmental groups and members of the Swiss Green Party have criticised the government’s plans as “insufficient”.