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View Poll Results: On which initiatives will you vote yes
Popular initiative “For clean drinking water and healthy food" 19 45.24%
Popular initiative “For a Switzerland without artificial pesticides” 18 42.86%
COVID-19 Act 21 50.00%
CO2 Act 16 38.10%
Federal Act on Police Measures to Combat Terrorism 13 30.95%
None of the above 11 26.19%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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  #181  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:45
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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caused cancer which was proven beyond the reasonable doubt ?
Most, but not all of my colleagues, in both academia, government and industry, would strongly disagree with this statement.

Facts are not considered proven just because a jury of non-experts were given crash courses in a topic by advocates from both sides of a legal dispute.

I'm also not saying that 'the current system is perfect', that has never been my thesis in this conversation. I was rather responding to new to switz's post stating his/her perception that the current system only focuses on short-term toxicity. My perception from inside is that this is not true and I cited some specific legally required study designs which study chronic and lifetime exposures.
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  #182  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:45
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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OK, so we can safely assume there are no major farms where a pesticide is not used.
We also know that about 1/3 of farmers do not take subsidiaries so there would likely be no change in output regardless of the vote outcome.
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  #183  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:47
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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I am not sure I understand how higher taxes actually help for the C02 reduction.

The success heavily depends on what exactly are the zero tax/low tax alternatives.

Plus many people seem to be happy to carry on as usual and simply pay the extra.

The research I have seen does not demonstrate a significant reduction in flights due to carbon taxes, excluding the virus impact the number of flights grew around 40% in the last ten years despite the tax.
In Switzerland around a third of the money goes to the Swiss energy-saving program EEREP (over CHF 300 million annually) and the rest is returned to us, which seems to be self-defeating.
It is difficult to find out how effective is EEREP; it is not like when you travel around Switzerland you see new solar panel farms being built with big signs saying "paid for by EEREP"?

Before voting for an increase in carbon tax I would like to see exactly what they will spend the money on; everything I have read so far reads like "trust me I am a doctor"
What they will spend the money on? Partly on subventions for switching to fossil-free heating systems, a process that is advancing at a snail’s pace because changing heating systems requires an investment to begin with, though it may actually be cheaper in the long run. This so-called „Gebäudeprogramm“ already exists. The idea is to strengthen it.

Personal experience has convinced me this is not only useful but a dire necessity. Our Stockwerkeigentümegemeinschaft still has central oil heating because one party was going to sell when the heating system was ripe for replacement. They vehemently opposed a heat pump. Understandable from their wallet‘s POV but kinda... oh well. The majority did the Swiss thing and agreed. This kind of situation is a major stumbling block for progress with the carbon emissions of buildings. The percentage of Stockwerkeigentümergemeinschaften in CH keeps rising, and their ecological inertia is legendary.

More in German: https://www.bafu.admin.ch/dam/bafu/d...O2-Abgabe_.pdf

As for traffic, simple-minded question: why would the aviation and automobile industries be opposing the proposed law if it had no effect? Dunno about airlines, but the diesel scandal left me with zero trust in the automobile industry‘s capacity for self-regulation, let alone integrity. They deserve a nudge.
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  #184  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:48
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Bio farming is, apparently, quite profitable.
You do know that Bio farmers are allowed to and do use a lot of pesticides and other products?

You can download the list here, it is 148 pages long
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  #185  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:59
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Botulinum toxin is over a million times more toxic than all of the synthetic chemicals, except dioxin, even dioxin is substantially less toxic (about one hundred thousand times less)!
While I agree with your general point with regards to potency, you have compared something which acutely toxic natural substance with a chronically toxic synthetic* substance, which you can't really legitimately do because you are comparing apples and oranges.

*I say synthetic because most of this pollutant was synthesized. However, very small amounts of dioxins are also formed naturally during combustion under certain conditions.
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  #186  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:01
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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What they will spend the money on? Partly on subventions for switching to fossil-free heating systems, a process that is advancing at a snail’s pace because changing heating systems requires an investment to begin with, though it may actually be cheaper in the long run. This so-called „Gebäudeprogramm“ already exists. The idea is to strengthen it.

Personal experience has convinced me this is not only useful but a dire necessity. Our Stockwerkeigentümegemeinschaft still has central oil heating because one party was going to sell when the heating system was ripe for replacement. They vehemently opposed a heat pump. Understandable from their wallet‘s POV but kinda... oh well. The majority did the Swiss thing and agreed. This kind of situation is a major stumbling block for progress with the carbon emissions of buildings. The percentage of Stockwerkeigentümergemeinschaften in CH keeps rising, and their ecological inertia is legendary.

More in German: https://www.bafu.admin.ch/dam/bafu/d...O2-Abgabe_.pdf

As for traffic, simple-minded question: why would the aviation and automobile industries be opposing the proposed law if it had no effect? Dunno about airlines, but the diesel scandal left me with zero trust in the automobile industry‘s capacity for self-regulation, let alone integrity. They deserve a nudge.
"What they will spend the money on? Partly on subventions for switching to fossil-free heating systems" But that is bla bla, it should be measurable like, for example, subsiding X,000 systems per year so we can see their goals and measure the achievement.
At the moment supposing they subsidised just one system they can claim to have done the job.

The link you quote is just more bla bla what exactly did they do or plan to do with over CHF 300 million per year, that is a big chunk of change.

There should be numeric goals that are measurable, spending this money on such studies that tell us installing non-fossil fuel systems will reduce C02 production is hardly breaking new ground or value for money.
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  #187  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:02
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Bio farming is, apparently, quite profitable.
For whom? Not for farmers, defo.
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  #188  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:08
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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We also know that about 1/3 of farmers do not take subsidiaries so there would likely be no change in output regardless of the vote outcome.
I don't follow this argument. If only 1/3 of farmers are not subsidized to some extent (ever? in a given fiscal year?) that still means that 2/3 of the farmers have to make a decision which will either alter their output (crop yields are lower on organic farms, which is part of why it costs more) or their livelihood. I don't see how food output won't be at least somewhat affected in a country with a finite supply of flat open spaces.
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  #189  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:09
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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As well as not reading my posts, you're not even reading the initiatives you are spouting nonsense about.

To quote the actual text of the initiative you claim does not ban pesticides:

So to be clear, prohibited = banned, and it not only bans the use of them in Switzerland but also the import of food which has been produced using them.
Yes, please quote full and not just a fragment

- this is provision for 10-years AFTER entry into the force (2033-2035 ?).
- measured be taken step by step (so pesticides be there for another 10-years for these that want to keep it).
- government reserves right to use as see fit permission to use pesticides even after 10-years mark at it's disclosure.
- applies only to synthetic pesticides.

which will lead to permission driven use when there is no other way - not as today .
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  #190  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:11
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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While I agree with your general point with regards to potency, you have compared something which acutely toxic natural substance with a chronically toxic synthetic* substance, which you can't really legitimately do because you are comparing apples and oranges.

*I say synthetic because most of this pollutant was synthesized. However, very small amounts of dioxins are also formed naturally during combustion under certain conditions.
Maybe I should have kept it simple like "The biological activity of a chemical is a function of its structure rather than its origin"
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  #191  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:16
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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I don't follow this argument. If only 1/3 of farmers are not subsidized to some extent (ever? in a given fiscal year?) that still means that 2/3 of the farmers have to make a decision which will either alter their output (crop yields are lower on organic farms, which is part of why it costs more) or their livelihood. I don't see how food output won't be at least somewhat affected in a country with a finite supply of flat open spaces.
so 1/3 likely wont care and do as they done for next 10-years or so (read - will use pesticides if used today)


I guess it will be impacted - there is 10-year window when provisions be implemented which lives a room for finding other solutions or adopting to the new model.

What is more concerning is that imported food be under the same control (how and how will enforce it?) - there be no incentive for them to change .

However as every time when there is a public initiative-vote in CH - there is open doors to what you were asking for - quota/special use case driven use of provisions for pesticides.

So no, it doesn't "ban" pesticides - it does lead at 10-years mark to "use only under explicit permission" - should it be not sustainable , likely whole vote will be void and government will grant over time so many permits that it be nothing else than simple 'dead law'

should it on the other hand push for change - we all will benefit from it and same time pay higher 'tax on food' ..however that tax is already long time here anyway
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  #192  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:23
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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which will lead to permission driven use when there is no other way - not as today .
Hoover, can I ask for a fact check on this statement?

I'm not sure how this would apply to Switzerland, but within the EU and US at least, the regulatory submission to the authorities requests authorization for particular uses in certain crops. See the info in this database. https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pest...sticides-db_en

So if you want to market your fungicide for use to control some particular fungus that attacks wheat and barley, plus another type of fungus that attacks stone fruits, you specifically propose those crops in your regulatory submission or re-review. But if not mentioned in the approved dossier, it won't be eligible to be used as a treatment for grape rot, for instance without reapplication. I imagine that Switzerland has a similar approach, but that's beyond my direct experience.

Last edited by Tox_Rat; 19.05.2021 at 22:26. Reason: slight rewording for clarity
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  #193  
Old 19.05.2021, 22:42
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Hoover, can I ask for a fact check on this statement?

I'm not sure how this would apply to Switzerland, but within the EU and US at least, the regulatory submission to the authorities requests authorization for particular uses in certain crops. See the info in this database. https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/pest...sticides-db_en

So if you want to market your fungicide for use to control some particular fungus that attacks wheat and barley, plus another type of fungus that attacks stone fruits, you specifically propose those crops in your regulatory submission or re-review. But if not mentioned in the approved dossier, it won't be eligible to be used as a treatment for grape rot, for instance without reapplication. I imagine that Switzerland has a similar approach, but that's beyond my direct experience.
As far I know it's similar system and more and more close to EU in that respect and certainly there is limitations on how it's used. What is not there is level field for farmers to create biodiversity as they be competing against these heavy reliant on pesticides.

This vote comes at the end of the GMO "moratorium" and likely (when failed) would result in even lower bio-diversity which is the concern.

I have a chance to speak regularly with gemainde president of some AG gemainde - there is whole separate market that farmers would trade permissions and as example plant only 1/2 of what they were planning for so to be eligible for more pesticides and get away with it - and competition between them is not who produces better food but who has newest largest Tractor this year - clearly maximising profits.

Guess there is a lot of B-vitamine and SVP is representative of that in parliament if you ask me how the system is setup .

not a reference - just article with some perspective to give : https://lenews.ch/2021/04/23/switzer...an-pesticides/

Last edited by hoover1; 19.05.2021 at 22:56.
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  #194  
Old 19.05.2021, 23:09
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Regarding Countdown, I actually find the science really, really poor. The studies discussed are often of poor quality and cherry picked to meet a pre-arranged political point. High-quality data which at times contradict her thesis are ignored. I work for industry and if I ever did that at my job it would a) be discovered quickly, b)I would be fired and c) my employability would be ruined.

Tangent: It isn't a very popular sentiment at the moment, but I'm starting to realize that as a scientist, advocacy is somewhat dangerous. You can advocate for the data, but once you start advocating for the issue, hypothesis or position, you lose your studied objectivity that allows you to apply the term science to the work that you are engaged in and the word scientific to your findings. The world needs both advocates and scientists, but those who practice advocacy should not term what they do science, nor should scientists try to advocate beyond the level of here-are-the-data-and-they-are-of-sufficient-quality-to-suggest-certain-conclusions.

A quality scientific review would systematically pull studies from the literature based on predefined search terms, cull the studies by removing those of low quality regardless of outcome, and then assessing those that remain holistically using a weight of evidence approach. But then again, this kind of review wouldn't make the bestseller lists. It would also be more measured in its conclusions. This approach is, however, how expert groups make regulatory decisions, which is often why what e.g. EFSA says is often markedly different from what you read in the pages of the Guardian. If you want to read Coundown, by all means, do so, but have a skeptical frame of mind and understand that she has framed everything that she has written for maximum shock value and a political agenda.

If you really are interested in learning some simple tricks to be able to think about and interpret data, I highly recommend Hans Rosling's Factfulness which is as entertaining a read as it is informative. It isn't about toxicological data per se, but the guidelines he proposes can just as easily be applied to those kind of data as well.
Thanks! You sound balanced and I‘m happy to take your word for it. Not a field I know a lot about, and I hadn‘t looked into Swan‘s ideas in any depth at all, just come across the book’s title because of the pesticide votes. I‘ve read Innumeracy, Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, and Gerd Gigerenzer, and will skip Rosling, but thanks. - What do you make of the alleged link to Parkinson‘s disease? Don‘t worry, that‘s the last question. I‘m not going to go homeopathic on you and claim that polio never existed but was a side effect of DDT and a conspiracy in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry :-) (I know a homeopath who seriously believes such things. Hard to explain, but it makes the opinion of some homeopaths on Covid less surprising.)

(As an aside: Public perceptions of health risks are often distorted. True to historical precedent e.g. with trains, there is a lot of concern about newish technologies like 5G, but surprisingly little about long-standing and well-documented public health hazards such as particulate matter, whose effects on pulmonary and cardiovascular disease are not more widely known for being uncontroversial. I also don‘t trust the PR of certain industries themselves. Big Tobacco was and still is as cynical as they come. (German: https://saez.ch/article/doi/bms.2019.17583/) „Exxon knew.“ The VW emissions scandal. Credit Suisse in Mocambique. Nestle bottling groundwater in draughts. The list goes on and on. I actually do read the Guardian, with a grain of salt but with a lot of respect for how seriously they take environmental issues. And I am a member of Public Eye, a Swiss NGO who IMHO did a good job of getting petrol with high sulfur levels regulated in Africa (the dirty diesel campaign). It is true that things are fairly orderly in Europe - from a public health POV, biodiversity os another issue. But standards in the Third World have been and sometimes still are much are lower for such diverse goods as petrol, pesticides and cigarettes. What does it say about a company if they export products we would never allow here? The reflex replies „supply and demand“ and „it‘s their government‘s responsibility“ strike me as inadequate.)
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  #195  
Old 19.05.2021, 23:15
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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For whom? Not for farmers, defo.
Bio is profitable for Migros and Coop, according to headlines that call their profit margins on biological produce the highest in Europe.
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  #196  
Old 19.05.2021, 23:17
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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"What they will spend the money on? Partly on subventions for switching to fossil-free heating systems" But that is bla bla, it should be measurable like, for example, subsiding X,000 systems per year so we can see their goals and measure the achievement.
At the moment supposing they subsidised just one system they can claim to have done the job.

The link you quote is just more bla bla what exactly did they do or plan to do with over CHF 300 million per year, that is a big chunk of change.

There should be numeric goals that are measurable, spending this money on such studies that tell us installing non-fossil fuel systems will reduce C02 production is hardly breaking new ground or value for money.
Measurable? Fair enough. In advance? Isn‘t that a little OTT?
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  #197  
Old 19.05.2021, 23:35
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Bio is profitable for Migros and Coop, according to headlines that call their profit margins on biological produce the highest in Europe.
Presumably by pushing the farmer's prices down into the cellar.
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Old 19.05.2021, 23:36
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Bio is profitable for Migros and Coop, according to headlines that call their profit margins on biological produce the highest in Europe.
and I think that is the point - it's retailer making profits when farmers seek to maximise theirs - reaching out to all means to do that

I would wonder whenever coop/migro do pay +20% more on bio to famers
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Old 19.05.2021, 23:42
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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Bio is profitable for Migros and Coop, according to headlines that call their profit margins on biological produce the highest in Europe.
I passed on the 3.70 CHF "bio" cucumber in Coop today. And I bet they pay the farmer well under 1 CHF.

But that is how we are increasingly conditioned. My daughter would buy everything that is wrapped in plastic and has "bio" printed on it, and would say she has done something for the environment.
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Old 19.05.2021, 23:55
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Re: Vote June 13th 2021

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like a kindergarden

No, nobody is banning anything - simply we would stop paying extra money to farmers that use pesticides to give chance farmers that don't ( so we promote via subsidies these not using pesticides).

Farmers that want to stick to pesticide - they still could - however would not expect subsidies flowing down their way

.,,I rest my case...
CAREFUL!! You're mixing up the "Pestizide Initiative" with the "Trinkwasserinitiative". And I am very worried many people will do exactly that!
The Trinkwasserinitiative contains certain (doable) requirements which in future must be fullfilled to receive direct payments from the federation (do remember that is the Swiss tax payer).
That means, farmers can go on as they like but won't be financially supported anymore if they chose the old way.
The crazy, crazy thing is that the board of Bio Swiss is against it, arguing that there will be too many bio products on the market therefore the prices will go down! With that attitude they even freak their bio farming members out! The board's reason for bio is obviously not healthy food but making money (and the bio prices are often ridiculous! Plus all that money doesn't go to the farmers where it belongs).
This initiative is a good thing and it will get my yes. The farmers still have a choice while the taxpayers no longer have to additionally support cheap mass production with extra payments.

The Pestizidinitiative is about synthetic pesticides. Bio farmers prove that it's possible to do without them. But the initiative goes very far as also no food produced with such pesticides could be imported anymore. That means that the production chains would have to be controlled in detail. Many foreign suppliers will probably not bother going through the process, not to mention that the control system here would also have to be enhanced.
To me this is one of the initiatives that - as I mentioned somewhere else on EF - packed too much into it and ended up unrealistic. I strongly tend to no.

But what made me write this: DO.NOT.MIX.UP.THE.DETAILS.OF.THOSE.TWO.INITIATIVES . At least not if you're able to vote.

So, hoover1, your statement <<No, nobody is banning anything - simply we would stop paying extra money to farmers that use pesticides to give chance farmers that don't ( so we promote via subsidies these not using pesticides).>> IS WRONG!

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ALL farmers use pesticides.

Tom
It's about synthetic pesticides.
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