In Switzerland, voters rejected key climate change measures in a popular vote. The climate proposal was one of several measures that Swiss voters cast their ballots nationwide on Sunday. The voters also rejected proposals that would have made Switzerland the first European country to ban synthetic pesticides following a bitterly fought campaign.

A referendum saw voters narrowly reject the government’s plans for a car fuel levy and a tax on air tickets.The measures were designed to help Switzerland meet targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The vote, under Switzerland’s system of direct democracy, went 51% against, 49% in favour.

Among other issues on the nationwide ballot was a referendum on the government’s COVID-19 law, which was accepted. It will generate a surge in state spending. Another initiative to improve the quality of drinking water in Switzerland was rejected – it would have made it harder for farmers to get state subsidies if they use some types of pesticides and antibiotics.

A ban on the use of pesticides was rejected. No major country has so far banned man-made pesticides. Bhutan announced in 2012 that it wanted to become the first nation in the world to turn its home-grown food and farmers 100 percent organic. A majority of Swiss voters supported an initiative to grant police enhanced surveillance powers and take preventative actions to help fight terrorism.

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