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Altmaier hosts EU finance, economy ministers before EC's 2030 proposal

London — German economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier on Sept. 11 presented key proposals for a cross-party alliance to achieve ambitious climate targets and protect the economy.

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The position paper, which is not the official policy of the coalition government, includes 20 specific proposals by the long-time ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel to combine climate and the economy.

"Climate protection is the central issue of our generation," the minister said, calling on parliament to enshrine climate protection and the 2050 climate neutrality target before the 2021 election campaign starts.

Altmaier was hosting EU finance and economy ministers Sept. 11 for informal talks in Berlin on the EU's Eur750-billion ($888-billion) recovery plan just days before a European Commission proposal on stricter 2030 CO2 emissions savings targets.

The Merkel ally underlined that Germany itself was already committed to a 55% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030 with the environment minister to present the official German position on the formal EC proposal.

Altmaier's proposals include a legally-binding set percentage of GDP to be spend annually to achieve the climate targets, so-called "Carbon contracts for difference" and CO2 auctions for sectors such as steel or chemicals to invest in new green production processes as well as providing the enormous amounts of green energy required by industry for the transition.

The economy minister also called for a review of a carbon border adjustment mechanism by early 2021 as well as various new institutions on national and European level to steer the transition.

The proposal includes a 2035 net zero target pledge for all federal and public institutions.

Stakeholders such as Germany's utility lobby BDEW and renewable energy lobby BEE welcomed the surprise initiative, but focused on contentious issues in the current reform proposals such as the renewable energy law (EEG).

The minister underlined that time was limited to prevent climate change with the ongoing coronavirus crisis as well as the federal elections in 2021 and subsequent formation of a government representing a potential delay to many legislative processes.