Luther Ray Abel writes for National Review Online about a German controversy that should send Americans a message.

The “comprehensive and indefinite driving bans on Saturdays and Sundays” threatened last week by Germany’s transport minister Volker Wissing had the desired effect, with Germany’s left-wing ruling coalition agreeing to a moderating climate-protection law. As one would expect, the far-left Greens were livid, as were their allies in the climate-advocacy space. “Wissing has wasted two years blocking every climate protection measure in road traffic — now he is coming up with horror scenarios so that he won’t have to do anything in the future either,” said Greenpeace’s Clara Thompson. …

… The Germans, dour and thrifty as they may be, will not suffer two things: middling bread or limits on their ability to go very quickly. The public rallied behind Wissing to the extent that it was made clear to the political class that they had no intent of giving up their automobiles to meet the old legislation’s goals for transportation emissions. The new measure passed, and Germans may continue to motor from Ikea to Aldi Nord (or Süd) and never Netto.

What one can take away from this episode is that environmentalists care less about emissions reductions and more about punishing sectors they despise, in this case, automobiles and specifically personal automobiles. Germany’s emissions are down 10.1 percent in a year (remarkable), yet the Greens can do nothing but bemoan the German public’s ability to convey itself as it wishes (already paying out the nose for petrol).

Second, the Germans are fed up with the green push. While their emissions were down that 10 percent, the country suffered a terrible economic downturn, with energy prices and inflation hamstringing the country’s many heavy industries (metal and chemical) that depend on energy-intensive processes to produce their offerings. To the voters, there’s a clear connection between life getting worse and reductions in emissions.