German,Dutch Gov'ts to Discuss Climate

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel and key Cabinet ministers are meeting their Dutch counterparts Thursday to discuss ways of tackling climate change together.

The meeting at Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's official residence comes as Germany is set to miss its emissions goals for 2020 by a wide margin, even as Merkel's government acknowledges that it has to further ramp up its ambition by next year as part of its commitment under the 2015 Paris climate accord.

The Dutch ministers will explain how they reached broad consensus in June this year for a wide-ranging raft of measures, from a carbon tax to more bicycle parking at railway stations, to slash the country's emission of carbon by half by 2030.

In a typically Dutch approach, that could appeal to the German government, sectors of industry and society that will have to implement changes sat down together for months to thrash out details of the climate package.

Environmental groups welcomed parts of the Dutch deal, but said it was insufficient in the battle to halt the warming of the Earth's atmosphere.

The Dutch government aims to make electricity production in the Netherlands 100 percent carbon neutral in 2050 and generate 70 percent of energy from wind and solar by 2030. Germany, meanwhile, is phasing out its use of nuclear power in its own energy transition.

Earlier this year, Merkel appointed a dedicated 'climate Cabinet' to address the challenges caused by global warming and find ways in which Germany can meet its targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking in Iceland after a meeting with Nordic leaders this week, Merkel said climate change "can be seen in Germany, too, by now." The country has experienced two consecutive years of drought and extreme heat, causing billions in damage to agriculture.

Her government plans to agree a package of measures by Sept. 20, days before a U.N. climate summit in New York, but there has been strong disagreement among coalition parties on issues such as carbon pricing.

Merkel, who has declared she won't run for another term in office, has repeatedly called climate change one of the most pressing issues for humanity.

"The price of doing nothing is certainly higher than the price of action," Merkel told reporters during her visit to Iceland.