Towards climate justice: Swiss citizens approve net zero climate law

Amidst the melting glaciers, nearly 60 percent of Swiss residents on 18 June voted in favour of a measure that will speed up the country's transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies and achieve zero emissions by 2050. Switzerland is now required by the Climate Protection Targets, Innovation, and Strengthening Energy Security Act to attain climate neutrality by 2050 and to replace its old fossil fuel heating systems with more energy efficient heat pumps.

According to UNIA, the country’s climate objectives should lead to the renovation of at least 26,000 buildings per year and creation of around 10,000 jobs for installation work. It said that replacing heating systems will require more than 13,000 jobs, while installing solar panels will require between 5,000 and 12,000 jobs. It also warned of a shortage of workers in the building technology and electricity, who it said are key professions in the transition. UNIA urged workers and other trade union to take advantage of the current negotiations to improve working conditions while committing themselves to the said climate objectives.

In Switzerland, buildings are responsible for 44 percent of energy consumption and a third of C02 emissions. While the challenge is enormous, and many jobs will have to be created to get the job done, the new climate law guarantees substantial resources. Currently, there is an alarming shortage in the key sectors of the green transition, such as building technology and electricity. This applies to both new recruits and employees who leave the profession prematurely without being replaced.

BWI welcomes the new Climate Act and joins UNIA in calling for better working conditions and job guarantees for thousands of workers who could certainly contribute to meeting climate targets, such as renovating old buildings to make them more environmentally sustainable. As more and more national governments are discussing measures to reduce gas emissions, BWI urges them to see the green transition as an opportunity to support the creation of decent jobs, improve health and safety in workplaces and create a healthier work environment.

(Photo: Bangkok Post)