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Poor report card for environmental efforts

Switzerland has failed to meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve biodiversity.

In its 2011 report on the state of the environment, the Federal Environment Office said while the consumption of heating fuels fell by 23 per cent between 1990 and 2009, the amount of motor fuels used rose by nearly 16 per cent and natural gas went up 68 per cent.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, Switzerland committed itself to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least eight per cent between 2008 and 2012 compared with 1990 levels.

The Environment Office also said Switzerland was unable to stop the loss of animal and plant species and the decline of their habitats.

“This is mainly attributable to urban sprawl, the increasing extent of soil sealing and landscape fragmentation, as well as to intensive agriculture,” the office said in a statement.

It highlighted the impact of Switzerland’s demand for raw materials mined and manufactured abroad and then transported to Europe.

“This indirect or hidden pressure on the environment is becoming increasingly significant as a result of growing imports. In recent years, 70 per cent of Swiss material needs were covered from abroad – and the trend is rising.”

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