Following the latest climate conference in Cancún, Mexico, Röttgen said the deep cuts were essential to meet the renewed goal to keep global temperature rises to within two degrees Celsius by 2100 of pre-industrial age averages.
Previously Europe had committed to cuts of 20 percent. The financial crisis, moreover, has dented enthusiasm for tough climate measures.
“Europe will only keep its leadership role on climate change if we push ahead decisively and reduce our emissions by 30 percent by 2020 compared with 1990,” Röttgen told the Rheinische Post. “This is an appropriate rate for compliance with the two-degree goal.”
The international community agreed in Cancún to recommit itself to stop average global temperatures rising more than two degrees Celsius.
German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chairs the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung that the Cancún meeting represented progress, but warned against too much euphoria.
“That is not much, but it's better than nothing,” he said of the two-degree goal.