Germany to cut carbon emissions by 95%

Government ministers agree landmark deal ahead of global climate summit next week

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The Independent Online

Germany has agreed an ambitious plan to cut its carbon emissions by up to 95 per cent by 2050.

Angela Merkel's government finally reached an agreement on the deal after it had previously been vetoed by members of the governing coalition.

It comes ahead of a global climate summit in Marrakesh, Morocco, next week where Germany was expected to come under pressure to do more to reduce emissions.

Ministers will finalise and vote on the details of the agreement on Monday so the plan can be presented by Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks at the Marrakesh summit.

The final deal was agreed at the last minute after tense negotiations between government ministers in the coalition. The Social Democrat leader and deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had previously vetoed the agreement because he feared the increased burden on businesses would lead to job losses. 

However, he said the eventual deal represented a “very good and well-balanced solution”.

He added: “Other countries will only follow in the footsteps of our very ambitious climate policy if we manage to combine the fight against climate change with the protection of industrial jobs even in energy-intensive sectors”.

German industry will have to cut its CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by 2030 and the country’s energy sector by almost a half. The target will be achieved by moving away from fossil fuels. 

The plan will be reviewed in 2018 to assess its impact on the economy, society and jobs. The targets could be adjusted as part of the review if they are deemed to be having a detrimental effect in other areas.

Georg Streiter, a government spokesperson, said: “The sector targets, included in the climate protection plan, will especially be subject to a comprehensive impact assessment."

The agreement will help Germany to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement that was signed by 195 countries last year.

However, critics said the deal was a watered-down verison of previous proposals and did not go far enough,. 

Karsten Smid, a climate expert with the charity Greenpeace, said: "Today the Federal Government has in fact begun the exit from climate-damaging coal and an end to the combustion engine. But the plan is not enough for the 1.5 degree goal promised in Paris. 

“If Germany is to comply with its climate change legislation, the quantity of greenhouse gases must be drastically reduced rapidly. The government must now switch from its snail-speed to turbo-drive. “

Germany and other European countries are likely to under increasing pressure to take a lead on tackling climate change following the election of Donald Trump as US president.

Mr Trump has said he believes climate change is a hoax invented by China to damage the US economy, and pledged to withdraw US support for the Paris Agreement. 

Additional reporting by agencies

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