Fridays for Future protests influenced parents, benefitted Green Party in German elections – researchers
Clean Energy Wire
Climate protests organised by the Fridays for Future movement directly helped the Green Party in German elections between 2019 and 2021 – in part due to the influence of children on their parents, according to a study by the ifo Institute and other research institutes. In elections held in the period, about 7 percent of the Greens’ vote gains can be traced back to Fridays for Future protests, researchers found. “The more powerful the climate protest movement is in a region, the greater the vote gain was for the Greens in elections held from 2019 to 2021,” said ifo researcher Maria Waldinger, one of the study’s authors. “In another analysis, we show that the positive causal link between willingness to vote Green and a powerful local protest movement existed only among people with children, not among people who had no children,” Waldinger added.
Coverage of climate change also increased in local newspapers. In their extensive analysis, the researchers evaluated a variety of data sources, including mobile communications, social media and newspaper articles. “This means that we can say definitively that Fridays for Future clearly led to political ‘climate change,’” Waldinger said.
The Fridays for Future movement, which at one point brought as many as 1.4 million people onto the streets, has not only had a major impact on the public debate on climate change in Germany but also on Germany's highest court, which last year ruled that the government's climate legislation was insufficient and violated the freedoms of younger people.