SCHOOL CLIMATE STRIKES AND DEMOS OF TENS OF THOUSANDS IN SWITZERLAND

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3 february 2019

[4C Note: On February 3d, we received the following message from Dr. Patrick Hofstetter, a climate and energy specialist attached to the Swiss branch of WWF. It arrived in an email addressed to the CAN-talk list of Climate Action Network. ]

Dear colleagues

In Switzerland, we entered in December 2018 a new era in climate policy.

Initiated by Greta [Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who started the school pupil strike movement] and a climate alarm on Dec 8th complaining about terrible climate policy decisions in our lower house, we do have people on the street. Mid January 22’000 students went on school strike. Yesterday, we had in 14 cities around 60’000 students and oldies on the street – organized by the students. Since we do have a direct democracy in Switzerland with many possibilities to take final decisions by the people we are not used to hit the road. So this is really huge! (Switzerland hosts 8 million people)

Last Thursday a movement of concerned citizens that started to form itself after the Paris agreement launched a public initiative that basically asks to amend the constitution to ask for net zero greenhouse gas emissions (and fossil fuels) by 2050. The emission pathways needs to follow at least a linear pathway and international aviation (a big and growing junk in Switzerland) is included. Today, already 17’000 people signed up to help collecting at least 100’000 signatures as soon as the text is approved (end of April). After this it will take many years to make the process through government and parliament. So these are intention rather than decisions.

In December, our minister Doris Leuthard responsible for Climate (next to many other issues) stepped down. She was replaced by Simonetta Sommaruga from the socialist party and she is certainly an ally. Some of you may see/meet her in forthcoming international meetings. She was also Swiss president in 2015 and therefore at the HoS meeting in Paris (Swiss presidents rotate on a yearly basis).

After the éclat in December in the lower house it is encouraging to see how well we can work together with members of the environmental committee of the upper house which is now in charge of revising our CO2 law for the post-2020 era.

I hope this rather good news from our side stimulates others.

Cheers

Patrick

Dr. Patrick Hofstetter
Spezialis Klima & Energy - Focal Point Climate and Energy Practice
Governance


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