Time for the Swiss to clamp down on CO2 and pesticides?
On June 13 the Swiss are to vote on three hotly debated environmental policy proposals. The CO2 Act aims to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, while two popular initiatives focus on the use of pesticides. The first wants to link farmers' subsidies to measures to protect drinking water and the second aims to ban synthetic pesticides altogether.
Banning pesticides is not the solution
Commenting in Le Temps, farmer Christophe Bosso criticises the proposals on the use of pesticides:
“What would happen if the two anti-pesticide initiatives were adopted? Since the yield per area is lower in organic farming, we would have to use significantly more land and energy to produce the same amount of food. ... Moreover, it would become very difficult to practice conservation tillage. The prospect of returning to ploughing is not at all delightful to me, because all the CO2 we have patiently stored in our soils over the years would gradually be released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.”
Letting others do all the work would be a disgrace
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung takes up the cudgels for the new law:
“Opponents argue that at less than one-tenth of a percent, Switzerland's share of global CO2 emissions is insignificant, rendering all the effort behind this expensive law pointless. But even if Switzerland cannot save the climate, that's no reason for it to sit back and let others do all the work. Tackling the climate crisis is a global project. It can only succeed if all states adhere to the principle of reciprocity. If rich Switzerland shirks its responsibilities, it cuts a poor figure - and also gives other countries an alibi to put off reducing greenhouse gases. ... But time is running out.”