BERLIN, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Climate activists from the Last Generation environmental group staged nationwide protests in Germany on Friday against the government's transport policy by disrupting traffic in 26 cities.
The members of the group are known in Germany as Klimakleber (climate stickers) as they are frequently gluing themselves to roads and infrastructure to block traffic and gain attention. In the capital Berlin, for example, the main traffic circle around the Victory Column was blocked in this way.
The activists accuse the government of "breaking its own climate law," arguing that the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) refused to present an emergency climate protection program as required by German law.
While Germany met its overall emission reduction target in 2022, the transport sector slightly increased its emissions compared to the previous year, according to the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
Internationally, transport is also failing to deliver on climate change mitigation, as global decarbonization measures would currently only lead to a 3 percent reduction in emissions in the sector by 2050, according to the International Transport Forum (ITF).
The transport sector would "miss by a wide margin the reduction needed to keep climate change in check," the ITF warned in May.
To meet the Paris Agreement's net-zero target by 2050, transport-related CO2 emissions would need to fall by at least 3 percent annually until 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned.
The activists' measures are not supported by a majority of Germany's population, sometimes even provoking violent reactions. Earlier this week, a truck driver drove into an activist. Although no one was injured, the driver could now lose his license.
On Thursday, the group already blocked two major airports in the middle of the summer vacation season, preventing flights from taking off or landing for hours. With this, the activists were "doing massive damage to the cause of climate protection," Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said.
This form of protest is not right, the minister told the German news agency dpa. "If you really want to stand up for climate protection, you have to take social acceptance into account," he said. ■