Swiss parliament backs carbon surcharge on plane tickets

ZURICH (Reuters) – Consumers in Switzerland face higher air fares and petrol prices after the lower house of parliament on Wednesday approved measures aimed at cutting emissions that cause global warming.

Temperatures in landlocked Switzerland are rising twice as fast as the European average, prompting the government to push for more ambitious action on carbon dioxide emissions.

As the aviation industry battles the biggest downturn in its history due to coronavirus pandemic, air fares in Switzerland will face a surcharge of as much as 120 Swiss francs ($127), broadcaster SRF said.

Petrol prices could rise by as much as 12 Swiss cents per liter, it added.

Opposition from conservative lawmakers was not enough to halt the passage of the measures, which had failed to win a majority in 2018. Parliament still needs to iron out differences between versions passed by the upper and lower houses.

Activist group Klima-Allianz Schweiz (Climate Alliance Switzerland) called the measures “small steps in a large climate crisis”, noting the legislation left Switzerland lagging well behind the action needed to hit targets under the Paris Accord on tackling climate change.

The group said it welcomed the adjusted Swiss target to cut CO2 emissions by 37.5% versus 1990 levels by 2030, up from 30% before, but said a 60% cut was needed to help hit the international target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

($1 = 0.9451 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter

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