Germany gave a chilly response Sunday to a call from a senior European Union official for the country to impose speed limits on the autobahn to help fight global warming.

The call came as Berlin makes action against climate change a priority of its current presidencies of the EU and Group of Eight. The environment minister showed little enthusiasm for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas' suggestion and a group representing the country's auto industry said it needed "no coaching on efficient climate protection from Brussels."

Many stretches of German autobahn have no speed limits — traditionally a cherished freedom in a rule-bound country. However, the current surge in concern over carbon dioxide emissions is putting that tradition under renewed scrutiny.

"There are so many areas in which we waste energy in a completely senseless way and burden the climate," Dimas was quoted as saying in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.