Switzerland Launches $4.3 Billion Proposal Toward Climate Goals After Voter Rebuff
- Revisions eliminate previously proposed surcharges on airplane tickets and car fuel
- Current proposal targets green improvements to buildings, EV charging infrastructure and electric buses
- Russia’s protracted invasion of Ukraine has complicated the debate
Switzerland on Friday launched revised proposals aimed at meeting its target of halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 after voters last year narrowly rejected its first attempt as too burdensome.
Draft legislation approved by the cabinet omits the new surcharges on airplane tickets and car fuel that doomed the first try, focusing instead on around 4.1 billion Swiss francs ($4.3 billion) in state investments to protect the climate.
Around 2.8 billion francs is earmarked for making buildings greener. Another 800 million francs will go towards transport improvements including electric vehicle charging stations and buying electric buses for public transport.
Switzerland has a special interest to act given temperatures are rising nearly twice as much as the global average and glaciers are melting.
As the government had flagged last year, the tax on fossil fuels such as oil and gas remains at 120 Swiss francs per tonne of carbon dioxide.
The proposal limits the amount that importers, who will be required to offset some emissions, can pass to customers at the fuel pumps to 5 Swiss cents per litre of diesel or petrol.
Car importers would need to boost the fuel efficiency of the fleets they offer, while airlines would have to mix fuels from renewable sources into their kerosene.
Image source: ChiemSeherin / Pixabay
Two-thirds of the targeted emissions reduction should be achieved domestically, with the rest via climate protection efforts abroad, the government said.
The government aims to increase production from renewables as it phases out nuclear energy, targeting an additional 2 terawatts of greener electricity output by 2040.
But the European energy crisis spawned by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has complicated the debate as the country scrambles to avoid gas and power outages this winter.
The opposition Greens party slammed the plan as too timid.
“The government’s proposals lack courage and the means to promote climate protection are completely inadequate. Switzerland can and must do more for the climate,” it said.
A separate study on Friday suggested Switzerland could hit the emissions target via a package of measures that would cost around 150 billion Swiss francs.