Chancellor Angela Merkel's government agreed Wednesday to increase truck tolls and raise energy standards for buildings as part of a climate package aimed at cutting German greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2020.
The government is to invest euro313 billion (US$484.4 billion) in the next 12 years for the five points approved by Merkel's Cabinet.
The points are part of a larger, overreaching climate package that was agreed to by her Christian Democrats and coalition partner Social Democrats last summer. Yet a key issue — hiking taxes for less energy-efficient cars — was shelved until 2010 because the two sides could not agree on it, leading to charges that the measures had been watered down.
Among the measures are increasing the toll for trucks traveling on Germany's autobahn network by nearly three euro cents per kilometer (more than 7 U.S. cents per mile), expanding renewable energy sources and requiring buildings to be more energy-efficient.
The measures also call for a revamping of the nation's power grid, allowing it to better handle electricity generation from environmentally friendly sources.
"I am absolutely pleased with what we have achieved," Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said, noting that the measures are among the strongest in the world.
The measures still need parliamentary approval, but the coalition government holds a commanding majority in both houses and little resistance is expected.