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Climate emergency: time to act

As part of the immediate measures taken for the first stage of its climate strategy, the City of Geneva will increase the population’s awareness of 5 simple and effective everyday actions to combat global warming. The aim is to encourage the residents of Geneva to adopt new habits and to change those which are seriously damaging to the environment.

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Campagne gestes citoyens pour le climat automne 2021

Every day, the combined effects of people travelling, eating, consuming products and heating their houses or places of work have a major impact on the climate. How can we limit this impact and which areas should be prioritised? A campaign has just been launched. It will be accompanied by awareness actions in 2022. In order to take up the challenge of climate change, a number of actions are necessary on different levels. Decisions are taken at a political and legislative level. The City and the Canton of Geneva have declared a climate emergency, setting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030 and becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. On average, a typical resident of Geneva consumes 11 tonnes of CO² per year (source Cantonal Climate Plan) whereas this consumption needs to be reduced to 1 tonne in order to limit global warming. As a citizen, it is possible to take action in order to reduce your carbon footprint, in particular by adopting 5 simple reflexes: heat more sparingly, prioritise a more plant-based, local diet, adopt soft mobility solutions when travelling, prioritise train travel instead of air travel and consume more responsibly.

A carbon footprint to be limited

Without turning people’s habits upside down, actions that can be adopted by everyone can not only make the environment more sustainable, but are also beneficial to our health. The City has thus decided to launch an awareness campaign vis-à-vis its citizens with regard to these 5 essential reflexes to be adopted. Residents can discover the first reflex promoted by this campaign in the city’s streets and trams: turn the heating down slightly at home. People tend to overheat their houses whereas – on ecological, economic and sanitary grounds – it is recommended to limit the temperature to 18-19° in bedrooms, 20-21° in the lounge and kitchen and 21-22° in the bathroom. Turning the heating down by 1 degree reduces energy consumption by 7%. According to Alfonso Gomez, Executive Councillor responsible for sustainable development and the environment, “Reducing consumption is key in numerous domains in order to initiate an essential ecological transition. The 6th report of the IPCC published this summer is a genuine wake-up call to take action by using all the levers at our disposal. With temperatures that have risen almost twice as much as in the rest of the world, Switzerland is particularly affected by global warming; Geneva is one of the cities around the world that could be subject to the highest temperature increases in the coming decade.”

Different levers

While heating in buildings is responsible for 24% of emissions within the Geneva area, 16% of greenhouse gas emissions come from food. The impact of a vegetarian dish on the climate is 3 times lower than that of a dish made with meat, which is the root cause of huge quantities of greenhouse gases and the destruction of biodiversity. Stock farming and crops farmed to feed animals have serious consequences on water resources as well as on the condition of the soil, while also representing the main factor of deforestation. Respecting the recommended maximum quantity of meat consumption, which is about 250-300g per week, contributes to ensuring good health and to achieving the objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in equal measure. 

Daily travel also represents 9% of the greenhouse gas emissions of the residents of Geneva. There are nevertheless alternatives to personal motorised traffic, in particular in the city centre. For the same journey, a train or tram consumes about 5 times less energy than a car, in terms of kilometres per passenger. Furthermore, the use of motorised vehicles gives rise to other harmful effects for our health, including noise, air pollution, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. Private cars also take up considerable space in public areas which could be used differently with a view to enhancing the quality of life in the city. Air travel, responsible for approximately 17% of greenhouse gas emissions, should also be limited. Finally, consumer goods represent 26% of the carbon footprint left by the residents of Geneva. The production of objects, equipment and clothes can be reduced by buying second hand, repairing or hiring.

For more information, consult the Climate: Take action to protect the climate information pack.

Contact

Anne Bonvin Bonfanti

Département des finances, de l'environnement et du logement

Conseillère de direction

Contact médias

5, rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville

1204

Genève

Suisse

Tél. +41 22 418 22 43

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Article modifié le 14.01.2022 à 10:51