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Direct democracy Lucerne city parliament declares climate emergency

Lucerne's Chapel Bridge

Lucerne’s cantonal parliament had already declared a climate emergency on June 24


Lucerne has become the latest Swiss city to approve proposals urging the government to implement climate-related regulations. On Thursday it adopted a petition by the Young Green Party and declared a symbolic climate emergency. 

The petition, signed by more than 1,000 people, calls in particular for the elimination of CO2 emissions by 2030. 

Lucerne’s cantonal parliament had already declared a climate emergency on June 24. Neuchâtel cantonal parliament did so two days later by approving a popular motion signed by 1,025 people. 

On Friday, Geneva cantonal parliament overwhelmingly came out in favour of a plan launched by the Greens with the support of left-wing parties. It calls on the government to present an action plan. 

Many Swiss cantons, cities and towns have declared a “climate emergency” since February. Similar moves are also pending in the Swiss parliament. 

Symbolic value 

Critics point out that a declaring a climate emergency has largely symbolic value as long as it is not linked to a concrete action plan. 

However, numerous climate protests across Switzerland over the past ten months have built up a momentum and put pressure on politicians. 

Green parties were the clear winners in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, making historic gains.


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