HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsSwiss Voters Reject Carbon Dioxide Restrictions Law and a Synthetic Pesticide Ban
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Swiss Voters Reject Carbon Dioxide Restrictions Law and a Synthetic Pesticide Ban

In a referendum vote, Swiss voters rejected a new law meant to keep the nation on pace with Paris accord commitments.

The law sought to reduce the Switzerland’s greenhouse emissions to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 through a “polluter pays” strategy that included new taxes on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Despite early polling showing 60 percent of voters supported the restrictions, the “no” camp carried the June 11 referendum with 51.6 percent of the vote.

Swiss voters also rejected was a ban on synthetic pesticides and on imported foods produced using such pesticides.

Higher Costs

Opponents of the CO2 tax argued the law would impose unjustifiably high costs on the Swiss peoples’ energy use.

The law sought to reduce emissions through taxes on fuels used by vehicles, aircraft, and factories, and by the imposition of new building regulations. The law also would have introduced a tax on airline tickets from Switzerland.

A coalition that included the oil industry, homeowners, car associations, and GastroSuisse, the catering industry’s umbrella organization, argued the measure was too expensive and unfairly targeted Swiss citizens in rural areas who had no choice but to use cars and trucks.
Although a majority of the Swiss people support the goals of the Paris climate agreement, a majority also believed the new taxes represented an undue economic burden on the Swiss economy, says Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“At first glance, the Swiss vote against various climate taxes seems surprising,” said Ebell. “After all, the Swiss government with strong public support has been a leader in promoting the international climate agenda.

“However, the vote is only the latest evidence that many Europeans think their energy taxes are already too high,” said Ebell. “The French ‘yellow vest’ protests against yet another gas tax increase in 2018 and 2019 represents the most notable example.”

It seems that many people have had enough, Ebell says.

“My guess is that most Europeans think they are already doing more than their share to reduce emissions,” Ebell said. “Some may even have believed the climate industrial complex’s propaganda that green energy would be cheaper than conventional energy, but they are now learning the bitter truth.”

Unfair Burden

Recognition of Switzerland’s minimal impact on CO2 emissions could also have helped boost the “no” vote. Opponents of the climate referendum argued the economic hardships imposed by the law were not commensurate with its likely impact on global greenhouse gas levels.

Of the 37,077 metric tons (Mt) of CO2 emitted in 2017, China was responsible for 10,877 Mt, and its percentage continues to grow. China’s CO2 emissions increased by 353.8 percent between 1990 and 2017.

By contrast, opponents of the bill pointed out, Switzerland was responsible for less than 40 Mt, about 1/10 of 1 percent of the world’s total emission in 2017, and had already reduced its carbon-dioxide emissions by 11.6 percent since 1990.

Kevin Stone (kevin.s.stone@gmail.com) writes from Arlington, Texas.

IT'S BACK: The Heartland Institute's Next CAN'T MISS Climate Conference spot_img
Kevin Stone
Kevin Stone
Kevin Stone writes from Dallas, Texas.


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