The influence of Fridays for Future on German climate policy

Germany’s youth climate movement is pressuring the country to increase its ambition.

Since mobilizing large numbers of young people to demand more action on climate change, the Fridays for Future movement has become an indispensable element of the public discussion on climate change in Germany, bringing as many as 1.4 million people to the streets at one time in the country’s history. In spite of the fact that the pandemic has eliminated the possibility of large-scale demonstrations, activists have continued to exert influence, for example, through online demonstrations and meetings with politicians such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

The most recent victory, in which activists were involved, was a recent court case in which Germany’s constitutional court ruled that the government’s climate legislation was insufficient and violated the freedoms of younger people by shifting significant emission reduction responsibilities to future generations. Only a few weeks after the decision was made, the national climate objectives were revised upward.

Climate activists are now pressuring political parties from across the political spectrum to support the 1.5°C global warming limit set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed in December 2015. The best way to go about this, on the other hand, is a very other matter. Activists are mobilizing for the federal election in September, with some vying for seats in parliament, while others go to the streets and establish connections with other social justice groups.


Who are the individuals who make up the climate movement?

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Fridays for Future is the largest – and perhaps the most well-known – climate action organisation operating in Germany (FfF). The campaign, which was sparked by Swedish adolescent Greta Thunberg, who has been skipping school for the climate every Friday since 2018 and has become a household name across the world, is mostly comprised of students in secondary and higher education. Freitags für die Zukunft Deutschland is led by Luisa Neubauer, 25, a university student who is frequently heard speaking on national talk programs and in other media. Neubauer has been called the “German Greta” because of her prominent position in the organization. Fridays for the Future has spawned a number of spin-off organizations, including Scientists for the Future and Parents for the Future.

Other climate activists in Germany include the direct-action organization Extinction Rebellion, the anti-fossil-fuel activists of Ende Gelände, who are well-known for their coal mine occupations, as well as the groups RobinWood, Koala Kollectiv, and GermanZero, among others. In addition to activist organizations, Germany is home to a variety of environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), and the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU).