BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will have to raise the price for carbon dioxide emissions from transport and heating buildings to meet ambitious climate goals that the European Commission is expected to announce, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Friday.
Altmaier, an ally of Angela Merkel, said the chancellor’s business-friendly conservative party had disappointed many voters by being slow to embrace stricter climate goals.
Germany holds a general election next year in which the ecologist Greens are expected to make big gains.
“We have let down many people for whom climate protection is important,” Altmaier said, adding his ministry would develop a plan to help Germany drastically cut emissions.
The European Commission will propose that the European Union set a 2030 target to cut its net greenhouse gas emissions by “at least 55%” against 1990 levels, according to an internal document seen by Reuters.
The current target is a 40% cut.
Merkel said on Thursday that Germany will have no choice but to accept the targets set by the Commission, warning that decarbonising Europe’s biggest economy will not be easy.
Merkel’s government last year had to raise the price for carbon dioxide emissions from transport and heating buildings to 25 euros ($27.56) per tonne, a plan expected to go into effect next year, after the Greens and environmentalists said an initial price of 10 euros was too low.
Under the plan the carbon price would rise to 30 euros in 2022, 35 euros in 2023, 45 euros in 2024 and 55 euros in 2025, while a price corridor of 55 to 65 euros will apply in 2026.
Speaking at a news conference Altmaier suggested those prices will have to increase, but declined to give details.
Merkel’s government last year approved a package to help Germany achieve its target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 55% of their 1990 level by 2030.
In addition to the introduction of a carbon price starting in 2021, the plan foresees Germany phasing out nuclear and coal energy, boosting investments in renewables, and developing a hydrogen (H2) strategy.
(additional reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by David Evans)