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Merkel Confident EU Can Agree on More Ambitious Emissions Target

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s confident that European Union member states can agree to more ambitious climate protection targets.

Germany is in talks with EU member states including Poland about the need for a new CO2 emissions reduction target, Merkel told a sustainability conference today in Berlin.

“We need, as soon as possible, another EU-wide target that goes beyond the CO2 reduction of 2020,” Merkel said. “I think that at the end of this year, possibly in connection with the climate conference in Poland, that we can succeed in jointly agreeing” on a new target.

The EU remains split on future climate policy and a potential move to a stricter C02 reduction goal. While richer EU nations are ready to deepen carbon cuts, poorer member countries are concerned about the cost of a more ambitious switch to cleaner fuels. Poland, which gets most of its electricity from coal, last year vetoed a planned ministerial declaration on future emission reductions.

“Merkel’s comments indicate that the debate about the EU’s climate targets will intensify later in 2013,” Konrad Hanschmidt, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said by e-mail. “We do not think a final agreement is possible in such a short time-frame, but formal ministerial discussions will be a big step in the right direction in establishing the targets.”

At home, Merkel’s government remains undecided on whether to back a European Commission proposal to fix a glut in the EU emissions trading system, also known as ETS, by temporarily delaying the sale of some permits, a measure called backloading. Merkel said it “must be possible,” to discuss taking CO2 certificates out of the market because economic growth is much lower than projected when the market was devised.

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