By a narrow margin, Swiss voters rejected a new aviation tax meant to offset carbon dioxide and reduce greenhouse gasses.
Swiss Voters Reject New Airline Tax
Switzerland is a direct democracy in which questions are put to citizens via a referendum or popular initiative process.
Over the weekend, Swiss voters considered a number of measures, including:
- Federal COVID-19 Act – weather to grant the government continuing authority to impose measures under the guise of public health and authorize public assistance to individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic
- Synthetic Pesticide Ban – a 1o-year ban on synthetic pesticides for goods produced within Switzerland or imported
- Farm Subsidy Restriction – ends farming subsidies for farmers who use pesticides and use antibiotics (except to treat sick animals)
- Greenhouse Gas Reductions – increase taxes on fuel oil and natural gas plus introduce a tax on outbound flight tickets with a goal to halve greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 (versus 1990 levels)
- Terrorism Act – extends police powers to allow for more preventative action against a “potential” terrorist
Votes were close and by a narrow majority, voters rejected the “carbon dioxide law” which would have led to higher-priced airline tickets thanks to a new tax tacked on to all flights departing Switzerland. This “Abgabe Allgemeine Luftfahrt” (General Aviation Tax) was not preset but would have been determined after passage of the act. There was discussion of giving regional airports discounts, which led to proponents of the act to argue jets still emit CO2 based upon their size, not the size of the airport.
51% of voters said no, with critics of the measure pointing out that Switzerland produces only 0.1% of worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions. Others pointed out it put rural voters at a distinct disadvantage over urban voters, who had easier access to public transport and alternatives to fossil fuel consumption.
Swiss voters rejected a new greenhouse gas law that would have placed additional taxes on airline tickets. Proponents of the law have vowed to try again while opponents have claimed victory.
The Swiss contribute virtually nothing in terms of greenhouse gases. It’s a rounding error at worst. Good news on shooting this down. The real question is when are we likely to see China and/or India propose such a law? Unfortunately, never.
As someone who’s half Swiss (my brother lives there), I find this interesting. These Swiss tend to be pretty self-congratulatory about how they lead the world on ecological issues while forgetting to mention that most of the steps they take – like recycling – are largely done out of practical interests rather than ecological concerns.
I am very disappointed by these results. But it is understandable, in some areas the proposed taxes and rules went a bit too far and were misleading and in the worst case nonsensical.
I’m worried this will be taken as a vote against greenhouse gas reduction, which it certainly was not.
I’d love to see how many of the eco-zealots pay the voluntary carbon tax when they purchase a ticket. I think we know the answer.
Making their home airlines and airports less competitive while doing nothing to impact climate change would have been a foolish move. Good on Swiss voters for recognizing this.
@Christian–I’m not sure why you feel that any activity that positively effects the ecology must be against a person’s or society’s practical interest to be genuine. I guess the urge to make ones self feel all good inside is directly related to how much you can make people suffer in the name of your greater good. That seems more important than than helping the environment.
When electric cars are a better economic alternative people will flock to them–no laws or regulations will be required. The same holds true for any green activity. You would be much better served by making the green alternatives the preferred economic choice, instead of trying to mandate these technologies on everyone before they are mature enough.
And by making the green alternative a person’s better economic choice, I mean that in the sense of engineering and developing the technology to the point that it is actually better than today’s alternative. Do not fall for the easy shortcut of taxing the hell out out of what you perceive to the the worse ecological choice. (but again, taxing the hell out of people gives many that warm fuzzy feeling inside)
Environmentalism and climate change concern are a scam. People who advocate for it really don’t care about the environment. They use the environment as an excuse to grow government power over our lives and restrict freedom. It’s unfortunate the default position of the conservative movement is to downplay anything environment. It’s not because we don’t care but we know any time someone brings it up it is to use as an excuse to take freedom away and makes us more enslaved by the government.
If leftists cared bout the environment, they would speak out bout the overpopulation that puts an extreme strain on resources and leads to environmental degradation. China has 1 billion too many people. India has 1 billion too many people. Africa is exploding in population. Central America has too many people. Leftists concern themselves with already very clean western countries in North America and Europe. Leftists drove all the big factories and manufacturers to China so there is hardly any pollution left. The U.S. and Europe are already extremely energy efficient due to economics. We love solar, but we recognize it’s not feasible to rely on renewals completely until the technology is there. Leftists nitpick and want to put severe handicaps on western countries like the U.S. and Switzerland when India and China are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gases going forward. We know leftists don’t care about the environment because they never bring up India or China.
The Swiss pay a lot of taxes already so good they axed new ones