SOURCE: Politico
Photo: Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

The ruling coalition has been fighting over legislation that sets out binding climate targets.

Germany’s transport minister is threatening to ban driving on weekends to meet climate goals if the ruling coalition does not pass reforms to the Climate Protection Act by July.

“The fact that the amendment is still not in force leads to considerable legal and factual uncertainties,” liberal politician Volker Wissing wrote in a letter to the parliamentary group leaders of the coalition, German outlet BILD reported Thursday.

“This serves neither the climate nor the reputation of the federal government,” he said.

A reduction in traffic to help meet the climate goals would only be possible through measures that are difficult to communicate to the public, such as “comprehensive and indefinite driving bans on Saturdays and Sundays,” Wissing added.

The federal coalition government, made up of the center-left Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, has been at odds for months over issues including a payment card for refugees, Germany’s debt brake and, lately, elephants.

The planned amendment to the emissions-reduction law allows climate goals to be reviewed for compliance by looking at all sectors together instead of individually. If the overall target is missed two years in a row, then the federal government is to decide in which sector and with which measures the permitted total amount of carbon dioxide emissions is to be achieved by 2030.

If the planned reforms are not passed through parliament by July 15, Wissing warned, the Ministry for Digital and Transport would be obliged to submit an “immediate action program that ensures compliance with the annual emission levels of the transport sector” until 2030 — which would include a driving ban on weekends.

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By Michael