Germany's Merkel edges closer to Macron on 2050 climate plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she would like to join other European countries in aiming to eliminate virtually all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but the goal needs to be achievable

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated Tuesday that she would like to join other European countries in aiming to eliminate virtually all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but stressed the goal needs to be achievable.

Merkel initially refused to join the initiative put forward last week by French President Emmanuel Macron and eight other EU countries, despite domestic pressure to do so.

Speaking at an international climate change meeting in Berlin, Merkel said she's now intending to discuss the idea at a Cabinet sitting at the end of May.

"The discussion is not about whether we can achieve it, but about how we can achieve it," she said. "If we can find a sensible answer, then we can join the initiative."

As a country that took in more than 1 million migrants fleeing war and poverty elsewhere in the world in recent years, Merkel suggested Germany has a particular interest in minimizing global warming.

"If we fail to protect the climate, then in view of the growing world population, increasing conflicts are inevitable because resources are becoming scarce," she said.

Merkel said rallies staged by students protesting their leaders' inaction on climate change showed how important the issue has become for young people.

"That puts pressure on politicians around the world," she said.

"The question isn't what will it cost us to reach these goals, the question is rather: how much more would it cost us if we don't do anything."

Announcing the United States' withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord two years ago, Trump cited the "draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country" and warned millions of American jobs could be lost as a result.

The U.S. sent a small technical delegation to the talks in Berlin and is expected to attend this year's U.N. climate summit in December, hosted by Chile.

Carolina Schmidt, Chile's environment minister, told reporters she hoped American cities, states and private companies that are committed to climate action would also join the talks in Santiago.

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