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Germany coalition talks eye scrapping climate target

Reuters BERLIN (Reuters) — Germany’s would-be coalition partners have agreed to drop plans to lower carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, sources familiar with negotiations said on Monday — a potential embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Due to strong economic growth and higher-than-expected immigration, Germany is likely to miss its national emissions target for 2020 without any additional measures.

Negotiators for Merkel’s conservative bloc and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) told Reuters the parties had agreed in exploratory talks on forming a government that the targeted cut in emissions could no longer be achieved by 2020.

Instead, they would aim to hit the 40 percent target in the early 2020s, the sources said, adding that both parties are still sticking to their goal of achieving a 55 percent cut in emissions by 2030.

The deal would represent something of a U-turn for Merkel, who has long presented herself as an advocate of climate protection policies on the international stage.

Merkel ally Michael Grosse-Broemer told reporters in the evening that negotiators had made significant progress, but there was still a lot of work to do before party leaders could discuss a joint and comprehensive policy paper on Thursday. Grosse-Broemer declined to give any details.

Sources said both parties had also agreed that the share of renewable energy in Germany’s electricity consumption should rise to 65 percent by 2030 from roughly a third last year.

Currently, the government plans to raise the renewable energy quota to between 45 percent and 55 percent by 2025.

Negotiators also agreed to cut the tax on electricity in order to reduce energy costs, according to a document seen by Reuters.

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