The members of the group are known 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 2021, the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) said.
'Last Generation' Climate Activists blocked the runways and taxiways at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday, causing flight delays and cancellations. According to the federal police, an activist was taken into custody.
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, preventing flights from taking off or landing for hours. With this, the activists were "doing massive damage to the cause of climate protection. If you really want to stand up for climate protection, you have to take social acceptance into account," Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck said.