Parliament pushes for wind farms and boosts global environment funds

Environmental groups have warned that the plans for the promotion of wind energy in Switzerland could go at the expense of the natural environment. © Keystone/ Valentin Flauraud

The Swiss parliament has approved a government proposal to increase a credit for global environmental measures.

This content was published on March 8, 2023

The House of Representatives on Wednesday followed the Senate in agreeing CHF198 million ($211.8 million) for several funds to finance the protection of the ozone layer and other climate protection measures in the least developed countries between 2023 and 2026.

The amount is almost CHF50 million higher than the commitment for the years 2019 to 2022.

Opponents from centre-right and the right-wing parties argued the money was supporting a "greenwashing industry" and stressing Switzerland's strained public finances.

Left-wing parties wanted to double the Swiss contribution, saying other countries were more generous and the poorest regions of the world were particularly affected by the impact of climate change.

Environment Minister Albert Rösti said that Switzerland was fulfilling international obligations with these contributions. 

He said Switzerland's seat on the Executive Board of the Environment Fund requires a certain financial commitment.

Wind farms

Meanwhile,  the House of Representatives has come out in favour of speeding up the construction of wind farms.

For a certain period of time, the standard procedures for the approval of wind farm installations are to be suspended, namely until wind farms with an additional capacity of 600 megawatts have been built in Switzerland compared to 2021.

The other parliamentary chamber, the Senate, still has to discuss the proposal.

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