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Geneva – Swiss feeling the effects of global warming rapidly melting glaciers, voted on sunday new climate change bill It aims to lead the country towards carbon neutrality.

Recent polls show strong support for the bill, which would require Switzerland to reduce its reliance on imported oil and gas and to develop and use more environmentally friendly domestic alternative fuels.

But the latest poll by polling firm gfs.bern has seen support drop, as the populist right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) argues the bill would require the country to become a carbon emitter. It remained at 63%. -Neutral by 2050, may adversely affect the economy.

Polling stations were supposed to open for a few hours on Sunday morning and close at noon (10:00 GMT).

But in popular votes under Switzerland’s famous system of direct democracy, most votes are usually cast in advance, with the first results expected by mid-afternoon.

Proponents argue that ensuring energy security requires federal legislation on climate protection goals, innovation and strengthening energy security.

They say it will also help address the scourge of climate change, highlighted by the dramatic melting of glaciers in the Swiss Alps, which lost a third of their ice volume between 2001 and 2022. ing.

climate friendly alternative

Switzerland imports about three-quarters of its energy, and all the oil and natural gas it consumes comes from abroad.

Climate activists initially called for a total ban on oil and gas consumption in Switzerland by 2050.

However, the government disapproved of the so-called glacier concept, withdrew the idea of ​​banning it and prepared a counter-proposal incorporating other elements.

The document calls for CHF 2 billion (2.99 billion USD) over 10 years to accelerate the replacement of gas or oil heating systems with climate-friendly alternatives and to help push companies towards green innovation. (Singapore dollar) financial support.

Almost all of Switzerland’s major political parties support the bill, but with the exception of the SVP, Switzerland’s largest party, it sparked a referendum that Switzerland rejected as a “waste of electricity law”.

The SVP argues that the bill’s goal of achieving climate neutrality in just over a quarter century would effectively mean a ban on fossil fuels, which would threaten energy access and drive up household electricity bills.

Senior Vice President Marco Chiesa in May criticized the “utopian” vision behind the bill, arguing that it would raise energy costs by CHF 400 billion while essentially “having no impact” on the global climate. bottom.

The World Meteorological Organization said in April that melting Alpine glaciers would have short-term economic impacts, such as natural disasters and loss of tourism income, and long-term economic impacts, such as the supply of rivers and hydroelectric power plants. Stated. . Switzerland votes in favor of new climate law as glaciers melt

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