1. Crop Care

Poll finds majorities for climate strategy and pesticide bans

Vipin Saini
Vipin Saini
Pesticides Foods
Pesticides in agriculture

Parliament’s climate strategy appears to enjoy solid support among Swiss citizens ahead of a nationwide vote on the CO2 law. 

Supporters of two anti-pesticide initiatives also have the upper hand in an opinion poll published on Friday. It was commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), SWI swissinfo.ch’s parent company. 

A total of five issues are on the ballot sheet on June 13, including the government’s economic measures to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic as well as a law to boost police powers to combat terrorism. 

Supporters of the amended CO2 law currently have a 25-percentage point lead, with the campaign still to get into full swing. 

Political scientist Martina Mousson, project leader of the GfS Bern research institute which carried out the survey, says citizens and various interest groups have by and large formed their opinion. But all is not lost for opponents. 

“It appears that the law will win endorsement, but at this stage I don’t rule out rejection by voters at the ballot box,” she says. 

The pollsters found a clear split between right-wing and left-wing political parties. Middle-class voters could sway the outcome, they say. 

Currently there are no majorities in any of the subcategories examined: age, gender, income, language region or type of residential area. But Mousson says opponents of the amended CO2 law have successfully got their message across to the public about planned price hikes for heating, petrol or plane tickets. 

Some opposition is also to be expected from the younger generation with a heightened environmental sensibility as the law does not go far enough in their opinion, the poll found. 

Anti-pesticide 

The goals of the two initiatives targeting the use of pesticide in agriculture are shared by many respondents. They both currently have a majority. 

But the margin is not very comfortable for supporters, notes Lukas Golder, co-director of the GfS Bern research institute. As a rule, a people’s initiative (a proposal for an amendment of the constitution launched by groups outside parliament) loses support in the run-up to voting day. 

“We don’t expect the two initiatives to be exceptions to the rule,” he says. 

The political left, parts of the centre and parts of the farming community have come out in favour, but the political right and key players among the centrist groups and the main farmers’ association are outspoken critics. Even the interest groups representing organic agriculture are divided. 

Pollsters have identified only a few differences in the perception of the two initiatives in the early stages of campaigning. 

But given the emotional potential of the issue, both for Swiss society with its rural roots and as a trend in Western societies, the debates could become more heated and possibly also more nuanced in the weeks to come, Golder said. 

The research team found a markedly higher approval rate for both initiatives among the expat Swiss community compared with Swiss residents. 

Source: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/poll-finds-majorities-for-climate-strategy-and-pesticide-bans/46596502 

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