Climate warning from Switzerland

The much-praised Swiss climate protection approach did not convince the citizens. That must also cause concern beyond the Swiss national borders.

The Morteratsch Glacier in Switzerland

ASwitzerland is also feeling the effects of climate change: glaciers are melting, mountain slopes are sliding, and there is no snow in lower-lying ski areas. It is in the immediate interest of the Swiss to do their part to slow down the rise in temperature. As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Swiss Confederation has therefore committed itself to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. This cannot be achieved with the previous instruments. The promise should therefore be kept with the help of the laboriously brought about revision of the CO2 Act. This would have further expanded the combination of financial incentives and government investment support that has already taken effect. But on Sunday, the citizens rejected this law with a narrow majority – and so smashed Swiss climate policy with one blow.

That must also cause concern beyond the Swiss national borders. Because the progressive Swiss approach actually serves as a model: Instead of bans, it relies heavily on steering. The revenue from the incentive taxes is not included in the general tax revenue of the state, but has been returned to all citizens as a per capita flat rate since 2008 to two thirds. This redistribution meets both the polluter pays principle and the goal of social justice. The revision of the law would have given climate protection a new price tag, but it would also have increased the volume of the flat-rate distribution. Whoever scraps his old oil heating system and barely flies it would not only have been compensated, but would have even had more money in his pocket in the future than before.