Switzerland embarks on a fast track towards climate action as national voters approve a new net-zero and climate law promoting a switch from fossil fuels to sustainable energy sources.
The voting turnout came to 42%, with 59.1% of the people voting in favor. The new law is supported by a wide alliance between the Swiss cantons, cities, municipalities, business communities, political parties, and governmental bodies.
The public’s approval of the proposed law in Switzerland marks a turning point in the country’s climate strategy after a failed attempt to implement a CO2 law back in 2021.
Pressured by the effects of climate change, where cold seasons lack snow, rainfall fluctuates between heavy precipitation and prolonged droughts, the melting of glaciers and the rising of average temperatures by 2.5°C over the past 150 years, the government acted promptly, and the newly proposed law came as a second attempt to address the ongoing issues.
Instead of imposing taxes and obligations, the new law is incentive-based, where a budget of CHF3.2 billion ($3.2 billion) is allocated for homeowners to switch from electric, oil, or gas heating systems to climate-apt heat sources, while businesses will be stimulated to invest in eco-friendly technologies.
Thus far, the country’s energy reserve has relied on imported crude oil, gas, and coal materials, and the new law will aim to gradually reduce the import of fossil-based fuels.
It will also stimulate the national production of renewable energy while at the same time enabling the country to meet its net-zero commitment by 2050.
The country has set indicative CO2 targets for sectors such as industry, construction, and transport, while expecting the same efforts by federal and cantonal authorities. The financial sector is expected to produce suitable financial flows, enabling a smooth transition towards renewable energy.
In addition to these goals, in the upcoming months, the government is expected to define wider action plans and laws to accelerate the progression towards a greener Swiss economy.