Swiss Review 4/2022

Fresh legislation to combat climate change One year on since voters rejected the CO2 Act, Swiss parliamentarians have embarked on a new attempt to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. In June, the National Council approved legislation to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The Council of States will consider the bill in September. Specific, binding milestones will apply to industry, motorised traffic and buildings under the proposed new law. Financial incentives will also be created to ensure that factories, cars and heating installations emit reduced or no greenhouse gases in future. Two funding packages are in the pipeline – one worth around two billion Swiss francs to replace oil and gas heating, the other worth 1.2 billion francs to promote green industrial technologies. The bill is parliament’s response to the “Glacier Initiative” – a proposal, submitted in 2019, to make Switzerland climate-neutral by 2050 and ban fossil fuels like oil, gas, petrol, diesel and coal from 2050. The initiative committee – whose members include biophysicist and former Nobel Prize winner Jacques Dubochet – has stated a willingness to withdraw its proposal, so that the bill can quickly come into force. However, this offer is contingent on the Council of States not watering down the legislation. The SVP is particularly opposed to a strict climate change regime. It prefers “voluntary” action to combat global warming. Hence, there is a distinct possibility of the issue being put to voters. (TP) inates in the north Indian region of Ladakh, where rainfall is becoming increasingly scarce. Fribourg’s academics used Guttannen’s ice stupa to study freezing and melting processes. Their findings will help populations in the Indian Himalayas adapt to climate change. Stopping the exodus In 2016, Guttannen and the Grimsel region drew up their own “climate adaptation strategy”. This paper contains a wide range of action areas, such as land-use planning, social and economic development, and protection from natural threats. Besides climate change, Guttannen has also clearly felt the consequences of depopulation and demographic ageing. “People aged 30 to 45 no longer live in our village,” says Werner Schläppi-Maurer. With fewer and fewer children being born as a result, the canton of Berne wanted to close the local primary school in 2019 due to a lack of pupils. To allow children to continue going to class, Guttannen has since funded the running of the school itself. So that it could offer housing to newcomers and returnees, the village has bought empty properties that used to be lived in by employees of local hydropower company Kraftwerke Oberhasli. This has already paid dividends, with one family having now moved into the village. This is good news for Guttannen stalwarts like Edi Schläppi, who could never imagine leaving. “Guttannen is my home,” he says. More than 500,000 cubic metres of debris rumbled down the Rotlouwi ravine during the 2005 storm. Archive photo Landslides exert enormous power – this immense rock was moved several hundred metres. Archive photo The weather with all its challenges is omnipresent – a wind gauge on the "The weather and us" themed hiking trail. Photo Plaques are used to immortalise the villagers’ testimonies to the climate and weather – here is one about the föhn wind, which often blows with great force through the valley. Photo Swiss Review / August 2022 / No.4 24 Nature and the environment