The Swiss are proving that a few hundred thousand citizens, is all it takes to get authorities moving on the climate fight:
A people’s initiative calling for the government to slash greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2020 is set to come to a nationwide vote.
Pressure is mounting on the authorities to do more to fight global warming in Switzerland, especially after the government’s latest package of measures met with a mixed response.
Green groups and centre-left parties handed in their initiative to the Federal Chancellery in the capital, Bern, on Friday.
They managed to collect more than 150,000 signatures in just a year. To force a vote, 100,000 signatures have to be collected in 18 months under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy.
For Thomas Vellacott, president of the initiative, the popularity of the proposal – people were reported to have queued up to sign it – showed how important the environment was to the Swiss.
“We know that people are getting fed up with a situation where everyone’s talking about doing something about climate change but no one’s actually doing anything,” he told swissinfo. “People are ready to see some action.”
The initiative calls for carbon dioxide emissions to be cut 30 per cent below 1990 levels.
“We’re saying that we want it to be achieved in Switzerland, so we don’t want it to be achieved by buying cheap credits abroad when we know that four out of ten are actually insufficient or nothing happens,” explained Vellacott.
The committee, which includes the non-governmental organisations WWF Switzerland and Greenpeace, as well as the Social Democratic and Green parties, also want to push for action concerning energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Now, all we need, is to change the laws to turn the United States into a direct democracy. In the mean time, we can always sign petitions and take the matter to the streets.