Home Global warming Swiss parliament receives climate talk after father’s hunger strike

Swiss parliament receives climate talk after father’s hunger strike

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  • Swiss temperatures are rising at a breakneck pace
  • A protester refused to eat for 39 days last year
  • “Switzerland has a duty”, says a scientist
  • Right-wing group almost absent from the debate

BERN, May 2 (Reuters) – Climatologists took turns delivering speeches on the dangers of global warming to the Swiss parliament on Monday at an event sparked by a frustrated Swiss father’s hunger strike on his doorstep. ‘last year.

Guillermo Fernandez, a father of three, ended a 39-day hunger strike in December when the government complied with his session demand. Read more

“It’s really fantastic to be here knowing that today the facts are going to be presented to Parliament and to all the Swiss people,” he told Reuters at the Federal Square, the place of his strike, before the event.

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“Afterwards, we will see which politicians take responsibility for the good of our children and which ignore them.”

Switzerland’s temperature rise has already exceeded two degrees Celsius, about double the global average, shrinking its once mighty glaciers and creating new dangers of drought and rockfall amid thawing permafrost. Read more

Switzerland, a major financial centre, has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but its actions are deemed “insufficient” by Climate Action Tracker, a website that monitors measures taken by governments to combat global warming.

Bern said an initiative to end the use of fossil fuels in Switzerland by 2050 goes too far. The country will hold a referendum within two years on a proposal to ban the sale of fossil fuels after 2050, with some small exceptions. Read more

“Switzerland has a duty: its high consumption means that it contributes more to the climate and biodiversity crises but that it also suffers the consequences,” said Julia Steinberger, an ecological economist at the University of Lausanne, to the parliamentarians who had registered for the optional session.

Only 100, less than half of the 246 guests, showed up, an official said. The benches reserved for a right-wing group dominated by the People’s Party (SVP) were practically empty.

Sonia Seneviratne, an ETH Zurich climatologist who gave evidence, said she felt some disappointment at the slow pace of government action.

“I think we have the means to do it. We are among the richest countries, so it should be possible,” she told Reuters.

Outside, around 200 protesters gathered, some dressed as thermometers and one as a dinosaur, to illustrate the possible fate of humanity. “I don’t have wild hopes,” said Camille Mariethoz from Fribourg. “I don’t think one event can change everything,” she added.

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Additional reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, writing by Emma Farge, editing by William Maclean

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