Activists urge action to reform Swiss climate policy

Water levels at Lake Constance in eastern Switzerland have dropped considerably, exposing the algae infested shores. Keystone

The environmental organisation Greenpeace has staged a symbolic protest against Switzerland’s official climate policy.

Activists gathered outside the parliament building in the capital, Bern, on Wednesday and raised banners, supported by balloons, calling for a CO2-free climate policy and an end to the use of fossil fuels in Switzerland.

The demonstrators also showed pictures taken by their supporters of the current dry spell which the environmental group says is caused by climate change.

“We have to take action now if we want to protect our health, glaciers, green meadows, water and biodiversity,” said Greenpeace climate expert Georg Klingler.

He said Switzerland is lagging behind other European countries and the carbon footprint of the average Swiss citizens is at a high level.

Parliament is expected to begin discussions later this year on legal amendments to bring Swiss laws in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, signed by 196 countries.

Planned intiative

Meanwhile, a group of citizens has announced that it plans to launch an initiative next year calling on the government and parliament to ban fossil fuels entirely by 2050.

They have 18 months to collect at least 100,000 signatures to force a nationwide vote on the issue.

The activists say their goal is ambitious but necessary, and they want Switzerland to follow other countries, notably Sweden and the Netherlands, which have set similar targets.

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