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Swiss referendum: Climate policy at the tipping point

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Swiss referendum: Climate policy at the tipping point

Pdenigrate opulists Climate policy as a green elite project. Like Bavaria’s Economics Minister Aiwanger, they fantasize about a silent majority that must “take back democracy”. This is nonsense. The Swiss have debunked the myth and voted by a clear majority for their country to become carbon neutral by 2050.

In the Switzerland there is, as in Germany, in principle a majority for climate change. However, this should not be confused with carte blanche for radical climate protection.

Because as soon as it becomes concrete and expensive for the citizens, the approval is acutely endangered: In Switzerland it was only two years ago that the Swiss voted with a narrow majority against a well-done climate law that would have made driving cars and holiday flights more expensive, but social insurance is cheaper for everyone. And in Germany the resistance against Robert Habecks Heating law so big that he had to clearly rewrite it.

Habeck knows: The next laws must be in place

One thing is clear: climate policy will never become a feel-good project for the population. The fundamental conflict between individual short-term benefit and collective welfare is inherent in it. This conflict of interest will always lead to protests against laws and rising prices.

But the answer cannot be to undermine democracy. This is exactly what climate activists and climate-moving scientists want when they want to let citizens’ councils decide and demand veto rights for experts in legislation.

It must be clear to everyone that climate policy cannot succeed in the long term against the will of the majority. It must therefore be done and communicated particularly well. The Heating Act is a chilling example. It made no technical sense for many homeowners, withheld financial help, and the minister couldn’t explain how it was all supposed to work.

Habeck now sees that he didn’t do “everything right”. He is also aware that the next laws must be in place. The populists are just waiting for mistakes that will topple the majority.

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