Switzerland

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Suisse

Canton de Berne – Suisse- Observatoire astronomique de la Jungfrau © Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Switzerland is home to 13.7% of the Alpine range, yet it’s territory spans 60% of the country. The Alps of Switzerland actually make it the “water tower of Europe” since it holds only by itself 6% of the continental freshwater resources. Nevertheless it is also a region sensitive to global warming with increased risks of flooding directly associated with melting ice. Forests cover about one third of the country’s territoryregion.

Issues

Switzerland has long set the example in environmental matters. Different assessments, by the OECD in particular, have confirmed remarkable results. An familiar example being the selective re-cycling and organic produce available in stores. Nonetheless, the situation has become more difficult in recent years.

Energy: More than 46% of total electricity production comes from (about four times the European average). By contrast, only 1% comes from other sources of renewable energy. 80 times less than Austria ! Solar energy makes symbolic progress, as has been proven by the MobiCat-the largest solar propulsion passenger ship of the World. – sailing on Lake Lucerne – or even the “Sun 21”, being the first solar-propelled catamaran in the world to have crossed the Atlantic.

The 5 nuclear power plants which provide 41% of electricity production are at the end of their lifespan. The construction of a new nuclear plant is being obstructed by the authorities of the City of Zurich.

Biodiversity: Bbeing only 10% of rivers and streams are still in their natural state, the remaining 90% are rectified , concreted up, adjusted or even dried up, threatening several species of fish.

Actors

Switzerland hosts the secretariats or headquarters of many international agencies, often in associationed withlinked to the United Nations, such as the (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), or CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) is also positioned located there.

Among national associations are the foundation Pro-Natura, as well as the association “Stop Atom”. There are also magazines such as La Revue Durable, a Franco-Swiss magazine, based in Fribourg.

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