Today we received welcome news from our friends in the Swiss Young Greens, who are gaining support for a federal popular initiative to ban large heavy and polluting luxury 4x4s from the Swiss market.
In Swiss law, Swiss citizens can freely form an association and propose a modification to the Swiss Federal Constitution. The association collects signatures of Swiss citizens who support the proposal. If the Initiative collects 100,000 valid signatures the proposal is voted by the whole population of Switzerland. If accepted by the People, the Government must enforce the legislative change.
According to Vincent Rossi, about 150,000 signatures have been collected so far. The vote could occur in 2010.
With this large success, the Young Greens have surprised the Swiss political scene and reactivate the debate on consumers' 'freedom to pollute'.
Technically, the Initiative requires all vehicles that are too dangerous or too polluting to be banned from sale in Switzerland. Existing vehicles can still be used, but with limited speed. "Too dangerous" means too heavy or with a too high a front end. "Too much polluting" means emitting too much CO2 or fine particles. Swiss and international studies demonstrate the relevance of these criteria.
The Young Greens have set thresholds for private cars in order to especially target SUVs and powerful roadsters: 250 gCO2/km and 2.5 mg PM10/km. Half of the SUVs sold in Switzerland would be hit, while only 6% of the family cars would. A 'light or ecological' car emits about 100 gCO2/km. A large SUV can reach 400 gCO2/km.