Voters Back New Climate Bill as Swiss Alps’ Glaciers Under Threat

A referendum in Switzerland was passed this week, as 59.1% of voters back a new climate bill aimed to achieve net zero and cut fossil-fuel usage by 2050. The government has cited the melting glaciers in the Swiss Alps as cause for needing to protect it’s “energy security and the environment.” Between 2001 and 2022, the glaciers have lost a third of their ice volume due to climate change.

The new law passed would ensure that Switzerland moves away from imported oil and gas dependency and begin to implement more renewable energy alternatives. The Renewable Energy Institute recognises the vast importance of making a switch to renewable energies. In the journey from fossil-fuel usage to green alternatives, it can be difficult to understand where to start. Our Renewable Energy Consultant Expert Certificate is the perfect platform for businesses and professionals to learn the fundamentals of renewable energy and how the transition can be implemented.

Switzerland imports roughly three-quarters of its energy; however, most Swiss parties backed this climate bill and pledged their support. Sole opponent, Switzerland’s right-wing party Swiss Peoples’ Party, claimed that the fallout of this referendum could lead to a rise in energy prices. This new bill will pledge just over 2bn Swiss francs (£1.7bn) across the span of a decade to push the changeover of gas or oil heating systems to renewable alternatives.

Swiss glaciologist, Matthias Huss, reacted to this referendum passing stating he was “very happy the arguments of climate science were heard”. Valerie Piller Carrard, member of the Socialist Party, said this is “an important step for future generations”.

Further to this climate bill, Swiss voters also backed new plans to establish a new global minimum corporation tax of 15%. This was a direct result of Switzerland agreeing to a new international deal – the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – in 2021.

In order to reach the new net zero plans by 2050, 80 square kilometres of solar panels are needing to be constructed. Some projects have already seen approval, with Ovra Solara Magriel solar farm committing 80,000 square meters that will generate 10MW of power. With this being the first step in Switzerland’s green energy plans, there needs to be a shift in political collaboration to ensure their 2050 targets are met.