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Swiss vote on whether to hike taxes to fight climate change

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss voters are casting ballots in a referendum on a proposed “carbon dioxide law” that would hike fees and taxes on fuels that produce greenhouse gases, as their Alpine country experiences an outsized impact from the fallout of climate change.

The proposal would revise and strengthen an existing law that aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030. It’s one of several measures facing voters nationwide on Sunday in the latest referendums in Swiss democracy, which gives the public a direct say in policymaking.

Many in Switzerland, home to melting glaciers and high-altitude towns, sense it needs to act fast: The country has faced a rise in temperatures that is twice as fast as the global average, the government says. Greenhouse gases — notably carbon-dioxide — are seen as the primary culprit.

The law, if approved by voters and finalized in parliament, would enact new taxes on CO2-generating fuel and natural gas, as well as on airline tickets, and raise fees on the pump price of gasoline. Exemptions would be given to people who reduce their C02 emissions.