Swiss citizens voted against three environmental laws Sunday, rejecting proposed initiatives that sought to improve their long-term quality of life.
The first initiative sought to ensure clean drinking water and healthy food by eliminating subsidies for the use of food pesticides and antibiotics. The second initiative proposed banning all synthetic food pesticides. Nearly 61 percent of voters rejected both of these proposed laws.
The third proposed environmental initiative was a CO2 law with measures that aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. To meet this objective, the Federal Council and Parliament would increase taxes on gas, and add a tax to airline tickets. A portion of the taxes would be redistributed to the public, and the rest would be invested in climate-focused projects, such as solar-powered public buildings, efficient vehicles, and electric buses. The Economic Committee argued that the CO2 law was “expensive, ineffective, and antisocial.” They believed this law was unfair because it would target those with low and middle incomes.
Though over two-thirds of National Council members voted for the CO2 law, the measure narrowly lost the popular vote with 51.6 percent of voters rejecting it. The Swiss Federal Councillor, Simonetta Sommaruga, stated that this vote was not a rejection of climate protection, but rather a rejection of the law on which they voted.