How climate won in 2021 elections

It's notoriously tough to get commitments from electoral candidates, but supporters and groups from across the Friends of the Earth family pulled out all the stops for May elections. Find out how many of our newly elected local leaders have publicly committed to climate action.
  Published:  13 May 2021    |      2 minute read

In early May, a series of elections took place across much of England and Wales. Some communities voted for local councils, others voted for their metro mayors and Wales voted to elect members of the Senedd (Welsh Parliament).

For a campaigning organisation like Friends of the Earth, they're a key opportunity to push for commitments on climate from our decision makers.

In the run up to the elections, our incredible grassroots network worked tirelessly in their regions, organising 36 election hustings and meeting 1:1 with candidates to secure action on climate.

Meanwhile, we centred our public campaign in England on highlighting the importance of metro mayors and and asking supporters to contact their mayoral candidates.

The importance of metro mayors

Metro mayors have the power to improve the lives and livelihoods of communities across the region and help tackle the global climate emergency.

Almost 12 million people across eight English regions have a metro mayor, meaning the elections impacted a significant percentage of the population.

Projection during election campaign by Friends of the Earth

 

In April, we launched an e-campaign action asking metro mayoral candidates to sign up to our Climate Action Pledge, no matter their political persuasion. With the help of our network in Wales, we also ran a similar campaign directed at Senedd candidates. 

Thanks to our supporters, over 5,500 emails landed in candidates' inboxes. Those emails, and the amazing work by our grassroots groups, prompted some fantastic results.

The results

  • Half of all candidates standing in the metro mayoral and London mayoral elections took our Climate Action Pledge. 
  • Of those that took the pledge, six are now the elected mayors of their region. In other words, six out of the total eight metro mayors promised to deliver Climate Action Plans in their region. 
  • All of the mayoral candidates in West of England took the Climate Action Pledge, ensuring whoever ended up in post would be held to account on climate.
  • In Wales, 112 Senedd candidates took the Climate Action Pledge. Of those that pledged, 25 were elected to Senedd. That means well over a third of the Senedd (which has 60 members) pledged to prioritise climate.

What next?

We’ll be holding those elected to their climate commitments across both England and Wales.

You can help now by joining with us and asking metro mayors to do two things within their first 100 days in office:

  • set up a green jobs taskforce for young people
  • meet with regional campaigners to talk through a proposed Climate Action Plan for the area.

Creating green jobs underpins climate action, and creating opportunities for young people is vital to recovery from COVID-19.

The Metro Mayor for West of England has already committed to this goal. Will you join us and make sure leaders of other regions do the same?