Swiss 'glacier initiative' collects 120,000 signatures

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Swiss 'glacier initiative' collects 120,000 signatures
Switzerland's Rhone Glacier in 2018: There are concerns climate change could spell the end of around 4,000 Swiss glaciers. Photo: AFP

A popular initiative calling for Switzerland to go carbon neutral by 2050 has collected enough signatures for the issue to go before Swiss voters in a referendum.


Backers of the so-called 'glacier initiative', which also calls for climate protection measures to be enshrined in the Swiss constitution, have collected over 120,000 signatures in under five months.

Under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, this means the issue could now go before Swiss voters in one of the countries regular referendums.

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The next step would be for the initiative to be lodged with federal authorities.

However, the cut-off for submitting the text does not fall until October 2020. The Swiss Association for Climate Protection, which launched the initiative, has not decided what steps to take next.

Association co-president Myriam Roth told Swiss national broadcaster RTS: “We can’t decide on such an important step so quickly.”

“There are a great many factors to take into account and we are going to reflect in coming days,” she added.

While the glacier initiative has struck a nerve with Swiss voters, the wind has been taken out of its sails somewhat by a recent high-profile announcement by the Swiss government on green targets.

In that statement, the government said it wanted Switzerland to go carbon neutral by 2050 – the same stated goal as the glacier initiative.


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