European targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions threaten jobs in the EU, Germany’s powerful car industry federation said on Wednesday after ministers set new goals.

"It’s already clear that the EU will not reach these over-
ambitious objectives for its car industry, and no comparable goal has been set anywhere else in the world," German Association of the Automotive Industry president Bernhard Mattes said.

A pillar of the German economy, the industry employs up to 800,000 people.

"The European car industry will be more heavily burdened in international competition than its challengers ... this is gambling with jobs and weakening Europe as a production site," Mattes said.

European ministers reached a hard-fought deal on Tuesday to reduce carbon dioxide emitted from new cars by 35% by 2030.

That was already a compromise, as Germany and some eastern EU nations resisted a push from France and the Netherlands for even bigger reductions.

Responding to the vehicle manufacturers’ criticisms, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the target "justifiable".

"If there had been no agreement, things would have been unpredictable for the European car industry" with European Parliament elections approaching in May, she said. A former environment minister, Merkel was a key player in the 2015 Paris accords.

Under the global deal, the EU is committed to a 2030 goal of slashing output of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane or nitrous oxide by 40% compared with 1990.

Climate change-fighting moves are in stronger focus this week, after UN experts warned that drastic measures are
needed to avoid global temperatures rising more than the average two degrees Centigrade targeted in Paris.

Meanwhile the German car industry continues to suffer from the reputational damage of the "dieselgate" scandal, which revealed millions of vehicles worldwide were manipulated to appear less polluting.

In July, the European Commission uncovered a new trick by car companies, accusing them of inflating carbon dioxide emissions figures in current models to make it easier to hit future targets for reducing output of the gas.