Cabinet passes climate package

Germany plans to achieve its climate protection goals by 2030, the new package contains suggestions on how to achieve this goal.

Cabinet passes climate package

Berlin (dpa) - The German cabinet passed a controversial climate legislation package putting a price on CO2 emissions in Berlin on Wednesday after months of wrangling between the coalition partners.

The package sets out concrete proposals on how Germany will attain its targets for 2030, including a plan to price CO2 emissions at 10 euros (11 dollars) a ton from the beginning of 2021.

The package, which was settled on September 20 and has drawn criticism from environmental groups, now goes to parliament for debate. It sets out how ministers from the separate departments will be responsible for targets in their own areas.

The aim is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, with the longer-term aim for climate neutrality by mid-century.

The package envisages a steady rise in the CO2 price, making fossil fuels steadily more expensive to the consumer.

Ahead of the formal decision, Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said she was "very happy about this, because protecting the climate will at last have binding rules."

"Each individual area has a target. These targets will be monitored, and we will do things in such a way that people can plan ahead. One will know how things will proceed over the years ahead, but no one will face too heavy a burden," Schulze told public broadcaster ZDF's Morgenmagazin programme.

A weekend report in Der Spiegel news magazine said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), along with their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), had watered down the package.

But Schulze, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the junior partner in Merkel's broad coalition, denied this.

Environmental organizations criticized the fact that targets for 2040 and 2050 agreed by the government two years ago were no longer in the package.

In remarks to a popular magazine to be published on Thursday, Merkel said that climate change posed a challenge to all of humanity.

"We need a more sustainable lifestyle, and time is pressing, especially with respect to our children and grandchildren," Merkel told the illustrated Bunte magazine.

Much could be learned from young people about what to do about climate change, the chancellor said.

"Also, that the youth have a right to make their life perspectives the benchmark," she said, noting that she did not set a good example in her armoured official vehicle.