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German government fails again to agree climate plan

Germany's Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel reportedly blocked the deal although it received approval from all of Germany's ministries. Economy Minister Hendricks will now travel to a UN climate conference empty-handed.

An agreement on Germany's "Climate Protection Plan 2050" was surprisingly stalled once again following a last-minute veto from Economy Minister Gabriel on Tuesday.

"The plan will not be decided upon on Wednesday," a government representative said on Tuesday night. The climate plan's future remains unclear, as a Cabinet decision on the deal were already postponed last week.

China Sigmar Gabriel in Chengdu (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Von Jutrczenka)

Economy Minister Gabriel reportedly objected to a passage about brown coal

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks will fly empty-handed to Marrakesh, Morocco next week to take part in UN's global climate conference which began on Monday.

Signs of hope for the plan surfaced on Tuesday afternoon after all of Germany's ministries agreed on the text and it only required the endorsement of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Gabriel.

The Economy Minister, however, declined to approve the deal during a meeting with Merkel, reported German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (FAZ) and the German news agency DPA.

According to FAZ, Gabriel objected to passages about restrictions on lignite or brown coal.

The "Climate Protection Plan 2050" was supposed to show Germany's contribution to pledges made as part of the Paris Climate Agreement. The plan lays out how Germany intends to move away from fossil fuels and achieve its goal of cutting CO2 emissions up to 95 percent by 2050.

Formally, Germany does not need to present a plan during the conference in Marrakesh. However, the country's repeated failure to reach an agreement on its 2050 action plan is likely to damage Germany's climate action credibility, environmental groups have criticized.

The UN conference is set to last until November 18.

rs/rc    (dpa, Reuters)

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