The negative impacts of climate change are being observed all across the globe and in coming future, more and more nations will see a destabilisation in their social, cultural and economic life, thanks to global warming! One of the most popular and developed countries, Switzerland, too, stands at a risk of losing its charm which draws millions of tourists and helps in adding in its revenue significantly. The rising global temperature threatens this beautiful nation in more than one way! From losing gigantic glaciers and its ski resorts to large scale damage to its public transport system, the losses would be too many if we go on the way we have been in our emission of greenhouse gases in past. The Swiss are very well aware of the impending crisis and they can not defer climate actions any further.
Home to the stunning Alps mountains, picturesque lakes and villages, this Central European country has been witnessing climate change impact for a half-century now but in last the ten years, the rate at which these changes are occurring have accelerated. The average temperature in 2019 was 1.9°C more than what it was in 1864. Moreover, global warming has been speeding up since the 1980s. In Switzerland, not one December has seen temperature going below -5°C since 1920. This rise in temperature is likely to cause crippling repercussions in the medium term. Damage to roads, rail lines and several hydro-power schemes are foreseeable. Further, with changes in watercourse changes, its water table and power generation capacity too will be negatively impacted. One of the early stage climate changes was seen in 2019 when high temperature led to deformed rails, and the entire Swiss train network was hit with massive traffic disruptions. It is estimated that climate change will cost Switzerland CHF 1 billion per year!
The climate change has some visible effects on 1800 glaciers of Switzerland too. The first sign of glaciers melting was observed forty years ago, however, by 1980, Switzerland has lost approximately 37 per cent of its glaciers. In 2019 alone, two per cent of the glacial mass of this country melted. Just like the glaciers of Switzerland, the ice masses are being melting worldwide. It is estimated that by 2100, over half of the big glaciers of the world would be lost; and even if we do our best to curb the global warming, we might lose approximately one-third of their volume. Some of the casualties caused in recent years in Swiss Alps, expert say, have been due to changing climate condition. Winter sports are a part of Swiss identity and the implications of changing climate are palpable in some ski resorts where some pistes have been destroyed with melting ice under the snow. However, the locals have been proactively acting to maintain winter skiing conditions in some areas, for instance, by covering glaciers during summer. With the rising temperature, scientists warn that, in the coming years, the temperature and levels of water could negatively shift in some of the water bodies of Switzerland like Lake Geneva which might reduce the already declining fish stocks further.
People of Switzerland have been environmentally conscious, however, its robust industrial sector contributes heavily to its carbon footprint. In 1990, they set out to reduce 20 per cent of the total emissions but so far they have managed to achieve 12 per cent. To become a fully carbon-neutral society by 2050, the efforts to mitigate the carbon dioxide emissions need to be accelerated as this, by far, is the most effective goal to tackle climate change.