German Green leader wants new policy to aid industry in CO2 reduction

Germany's Green Party co-chairwoman Annalena Baerbock smiles after being nominated as the party's chancellor candidate during a party convention in Berlin, Germany, June 12, 2021. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The German Green Party will seek to support the country's industry on its road to cutting carbon emissions by ensuring the state helps meet any additional costs companies incur, its leader Annalena Baerbock said on Saturday.

On the second day of a party conference to approve the party's election programme, Baerbock said industry in Europe's leading economy would receive binding assurances on the support on offer.

"We are proposing a new deal to German industry. Instead of hindering progress and fending it off, I want to make it possible," she said.

Germany is committed to reach net zero emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases by 2045, but discussions are raging over how to get there and what the transition requires.

Baerbock mentioned support for replacing fossil-fuel based home heating systems and battery-driven cars fuelled by renewable electricity.

Baerbock, who was named in April as candidate for the chancellorship in general elections in September, was reconfirmed at the conference in that position.

The conference supported Baerbock and co-leader Robert Habeck's leadership with 98.5% approval, in a 473 to six vote and four exemptions.

However Baerbock's popularity among the wider public has dipped after reports of a delayed report of a party bonus and criticism of elements of her published curriculum vita.

After weeks running neck-and-neck in polls with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, the Greens have fallen eight points behind to about 20%.

The party's co-leaders on Friday defeated a push by party members for a steeper increase in the CO2 levy after warning that an over-aggressive approach to reducing emissions could put off voters.

(Reporting by Holger Hansen; Writing by Vera Eckert; Editing by David Holmes)

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