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German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday endorsed for the first time a European Union target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, putting pressure on reluctant coal-dependent eastern European countries.
Merkel made the remarks as she arrived for an EU summit which will, among other topics, discuss "climate neutrality" by mid-century under growing public and political demands to step up the fight against climate change.
Climate - Neutrality - Goal - Germany - Merkel
"We want to commit ourselves to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. I at least can explicitly support this goal for Germany," Merkel told reporters in Brussels.
NGOs and EU officials have for days been pointing to a shift in the position of Germany, the bloc's most powerful economy and the biggest polluter, but were waiting for Merkel to sign off on it.
Momentum - Goal - Climate - Neutrality - President
"I'm very happy that we are seeing growing momentum to the goal of climate neutrality by 2050," French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters.
As president of the country that brokered the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Macron has pushed most fervently for the goal.
Leaders - Talks - Summit - Resolution - Mentions
The leaders then entered talks on a finely-nuanced summit resolution that nonetheless mentions for the first time having the 28-nation bloc commmit to no more carbon emissions than it absorbs by 2050.
The leaders will urge the EU "to advance work on the conditions, the incentives and the enabling framework to be put in place, in order to determine how to ensure a transition to a climate-neutral EU by 2050," according to a draft obtained by AFP.
Aim - Competitiveness - Account - Member - States
The aim must also "preserve European competitiveness, be just and socially balanced, take account of member states' national circumstances and respect their right to decide on their...
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