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Carbon neutrality: Swiss vote yes

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Switzerland voted by a large majority on Sunday in favor of carbon neutrality by 2050, in the Alpine country where a symbolic declaration of the death of glaciers embodies the ravages of climate change.

In a second referendum, they also approved a 15% tax on large, internationally active companies, according to estimates published at noon, at the close of polls.

sequel after announcement

Yes won 58.7% for the climate law, while it topped 79% for the new tax, according to projections by the Tamedia press group.

All major parties and the federal government have called for a yes vote, with the exception of Switzerland’s leading party, the far-right party UDC. But his alarmist campaign, played on the fear of a country without electricity, shivering with cold, ultimately failed to convince the population.

Incitement, not prohibition

The bill plans to gradually reduce oil and natural gas consumption without banning it. At the same time, Switzerland will have to produce more renewable energies, such as hydropower and photovoltaics, and support more climate-friendly heating systems, such as heat pumps.

Switzerland and its mountain ecosystem are particularly affected by climate change. Experts consider the condition of the Swiss glaciers to be catastrophic and doomed to disappear.

sequel after announcement

The issue of energy is a thorny issue, in a country that relies 75% on imports for its needs, mainly oil and gas. Fragility was shown dramatically by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Savings or a technological “bet”? For carbon neutrality in 2050, there are four societal options

there Federal Law on Climate Protection, Innovation and Energy Security Goals It aims to reduce dependence on energy from foreign countries while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, without new restrictions or taxes.

No gas or oil

This text is actually a counter project to a grassroots initiative known as Glacier Initiative Submitted by climate activists in 2019. It plans to ban the consumption of fossil fuels from 2050.

The government and parliament felt this was too radical and preferred incentives, including fiscal ones, to reduce fossil fuel consumption as much as possible, without banning it.

sequel after announcement

Their plan provides up to 200 million francs (about the same amount in euros) each year for ten years to help homeowners switch to climate-friendly heating systems. Industries that invest in innovative technologies, for example able to filter carbon dioxide from the air, will also benefit from the subsidy.

The disappearance of glaciers appears to be worse than expected

UDC guarantees that the project it describes as “Waste of Electricity Law”will still lead to the banning of fuel oil, gas, diesel and gasoline as energy sources, endangering energy security and increasing household electricity bills.

This isn’t the first time the senior vice president has opposed climate laws. In 2021, the party narrowly fails a project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Big business tax

Estimates predicted massive approval of the constitutional amendment aimed at implementing the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and G20 project on taxation, at a rate of at least 15%, from large, internationally active business groups. .

sequel after announcement

Minimum taxes will apply to business groups with an annual turnover of at least 750 million euros.

Until now, most of the 26 Swiss cantons had low corporate taxes, in order to remain competitive despite high labor costs.

The number of Swiss groups directly involved in Switzerland is estimated at a few hundred by the Federal Tax Administration, which estimates that revenue from the additional tax will be between 1 and 2.5 billion francs in the first year.

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