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Swiss vote on increasing taxes to fight climate change


Swiss voters are voting in a referendum that would increase tariffs and taxes on fuels that generate carbon dioxide

The proposal will amend and strengthen existing legislation that aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030. The latest referendum in Swiss democracy is one of several measures facing voters across the country on Sunday, which calls on the public directly in policy making.

Many in Switzerland, where glaciers melt and high-altitude cities, think it needs to act fast: the government says the country has faced a rise in temperature that is twice the global average. Greenhouse gases – particularly carbon-dioxide – are seen as the primary culprit.

The legislation, if approved by voters and finalized in parliament, would introduce new taxes on CO2-generating fuels and natural gas as well as airline tickets, and increase tariffs on the pump price of gasoline. Exemptions will be given to those who reduce their C02 emissions.

Such revenue will be used to support activities such as the rollout of electric buses, financing for Swiss firms to innovate climate-friendly technologies, new heating systems and assistance for areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change. ” Will go into – like rural areas vulnerable to landslides.

Surveys show that the majority of voters support the measure, but the gap narrowed in May. Most Swiss cast ballots by mail and preliminary results were expected by Sunday afternoon.

Critics say the measure would be ineffective because Switzerland’s carbon-dioxide emissions amount to a mere 0.1 percent of the global tally – so the problem is much bigger than in the country alone.

Furthermore, they say the effect of the measure would be enormous and weigh heavily on a wide range of people, including low- and middle-income households, drivers, young travelers and both landlords and renters.

The Swiss government, which backs the proposal, and other proponents say inaction will cost even more, and say the measure could reduce climate-friendly innovations and create more green jobs.

Among other issues on ballots nationwide is a referendum on the government’s COVID-19 law, which generated an increase in state spending that critics say was too costly: a vote against the law could invalidate emergency state support. Which has already run out – and continues to go – over 100,000 enterprises and over 1 million people in a country of 8.5 million.

Surveys suggest relatively tight competition over an initiative that aims to improve drinking water quality in Switzerland will make it harder to obtain state subsidies if farmers use certain types of pesticides and antibiotics.

Voters also appeared ready to flag off the government’s effort to provide increased surveillance powers to the police and take preventive action to help fight terrorism.

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Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate.

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