Merkel Warned That Failure to Hit Climate Goal May Hurt Germany

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Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ambition to lead Europe’s fight against global warming is at risk of backfiring and tarnishing Germany’s climate credentials, according to researchers.

Germans will likely reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by about 30 percent in 2020 compared to 1990 levels, missing the 40 percent reduction goal set by the government in 2012, according to a report by Berlin-based climate researcher Agora Energiewende.

German emission reductions “won’t be a near miss but a booming failure,” Agora researchers wrote. They urged Germany to refocus on emission cuts after this month’s federal election, in which Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor.

Climate protection is getting short shrift in campaigning by Germany’s biggest parties even though polls show it’s important to voters. More than seven of 10 Germans worry about the impact of climate change, even more than the 65 percent of voters concerned with war, according to a July survey by Kantar Emnid.

The Environment Ministry in Berlin responded to the Agora report, rejecting its forecast for carbon dioxide output to 2020 in a statement on Thursday. The ministry expects Germany to cut emissions by as much as 37 percent.

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