Young climate activists launch campaign to seat 8 ‘green champions’ in elections

Campaigners to back independent Jamie Driscoll and unseat "climate villains” at elections this year

Young climate activists have announced a mass campaign effort to seat candidates in the upcoming elections who back a green new deal including independent Jamie Driscoll and the Green Party’s Carla Denyer.

The movement Green New Deal Rising (GNDR) has set out a mobilisation plan to get pro-green new deal candidates elected, as well as unseat “climate villains” in the 2024 elections. 

“Gen Z and millennials are set to make up the largest portion of the electorate this year,” said GNDR Co-Director Fatima Ibrahim. 

“This is a crucial election for our generation. We’re facing a cost of living crisis and climate catastrophe – and young people will be mobilising to elect politicians who are prepared to respond to the scale of those challenges.”

Phone banking, digital organising and door knocking will be used to orchestrate the mass campaign, training 2,000 new people up and down the country with the hope of mobilising 60,000 young people for the upcoming elections. 

One of the group’s key election battles will be to elect current North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll as North East Mayor, who was blocked from being Labour’s representative and is running as an independent. Fatima said backing Driscoll will show Labour, “can’t take our votes for granted”.

Other candidates getting the group’s backing are Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party and Bristol Central MP candidate and fellow Green Party member Sian Berry, the candidate for Brighton Pavillion.

Carla Denyer will be going up against Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire.

Speaking at the launch event on Monday evening, Berry said she was pleased to be part of a campaign that is “cross party, in that you are choosing a candidate who has demonstrated what they will do for you”.

She stressed: “This election is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to elect politicians who will take action to secure a liveable future for all of us.”

The other six candidates are yet to be confirmed, but will include some from the Labour Party, to be announced once Labour candidate processing ends. Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset was identified as one MP the movement is looking to unseat. 

Speaking at the campaign launch event on Monday evening, Jamie Driscoll said Labour had “got their priorities wrong” since Starmer’s most recent broken pledge to invest £28 billion in climate measures, as the mayor blasted short-term political commitments. 

Driscoll spoke of a £6.2 billion deal in the North East, bringing buses back under public control and creating a Total Transport Network, pushing for better and cheaper public transport.

He has also launched an £18 million Green New Deal fund to help organisations reduce their carbon footprint.  

“They’ve got their priorities wrong,” said Driscoll at the launch event. “I want this government out as much as anyone so if you want to vote them out at the next election then do us all a favour. 

“But don’t hold your breath for change. We might change the orchestra but the tune will be the same.”

He added: “If young people make their voices heard, we can win in May – and work together to deliver the Green New Deal that we all need.”

The Green New Deal sets out a 10-year ‘game-changing’ plan to stop climate change, move towards decarbonisation, global justice and a just transition focusing on transforming the economic system to serve people and the planet over profit. 

From the first day a new government comes to power, GNDR also announced it will initiate 100-days of action, scaling up disruption and hoping to mobilise the “biggest climate march in history” to keep pressure on the next government to keep the climate crisis front and centre.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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