A new nationwide energy programme has been launched in Switzerland that aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 per cent between now and the year 2010.
Called Energy Switzerland, the programme aims to reduce emissions mainly through voluntary measures. However, regulations and a possible tax on CO2 emissions are also foreseen.
Presenting the programme in Bern, the energy minister and this year's president, Moritz Leuenberger, said Energy Switzerland should make an important contribution to sustainable energy provision.
Other aims of the programme are to reduce Switzerland's dependence on oil and to promote new technologies that could one day be used to replace the country's nuclear power stations.
Leuenberger said greater efforts were needed to reduce CO2 emissions because the present measures in the Energy 2000 programme would at best only stabilise emissions by 2010.
"Energy Switzerland is not simply a public relations campaign with well-intended calls for saving energy," Leuenberger said. "We need to bring together all the powers that we can muster - the confederation, the cantons, the business world, consumers and environment organisations," he added.
Leuenberger also said Energy Switzerland should help many energy-efficient technologies already on the drawing board to come to fruition. "Energy Switzerland can reinforce the competitiveness of the economy and create future-oriented jobs."
The confederation is contributing SFr55 million ($33.13 million) to the programme for the year 2001.
The cantons have put construction on their priority list, with the main aim to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings.
The business world has said it intends to promote the rational use of energy and wants to achieve the goals set for CO2 emissions so that the introduction of a CO2 tax can be avoided.
by Robert Brookes