Switzerland Launches Plan To Try To Save Glaciers

The government has agreed a CHF3.2 billion (£2.93 billion) climate action package. Swiss glaciers have lost half their volume in the past 80 years and some predict many may melt by the end of the century unless action is taken.

The money will be spent on several initiative:

  • Subsidising a network of alpine photovoltaic plants.
  • The replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with sustainable alternatives.
  • The insulation and renovation of buildings.

The Glacier Initiative committee, that had wanted to ban the use of fosil fuel, said the plan would ensure that “effective and rapid climate protection can be realised in Switzerland”.

See more information and details on SwissInfo

The government is to take action after it was thought there could be a nationwide vote on banning fossil fuels completely.

The new initiative averts such a plan and it will be withdrawn once both chambers of parliament finalise the details of the new initiative.

Supporters of the ‘Glacier Initiative’ say the new measures go some way to satisfying their demands for Switzerland to stand by the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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In Germany the Southern Schneeferner glacier in the Alps has been stripped of its status as glacier.

It used to be situated by Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitz.

It is now a couple of metres thick in many places and so won’t slide down the hill, and has been re-classified simply as ice.

The decision was made by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

“The remaining ice will melt away completely in the coming one to two years,” said the academy.

There are four glaciers left in Germany:

  • Northern Schneeferner and Hoellentalferner on its highest mountain, the Zugspitze.
  • Blaueis and Watzmann in the Berchtesgaden Alps.
Zugspitze mountain. Image © PlanetSKI

Zugspitze mountain. Image © PlanetSKI

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Image c/o PlanetSKI