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What is "Just Transition"?

Worker’s Voice and Investing in a Just Transition: The Fonds de Solidarité FTQ

Investors are embedded in society, and the Solidarity Fund of Québec shows one example of direct engagement by investors to help workers and communities to prepare for an energy transition.


A Just and Equitable Transition

This policy brief discusses the meaning and importance of a just and equitable transition to a low-carbon economy and provides action-oriented recommendations for the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.


This policy brief discusses the meaning and importance of a just and equitable transition for the City of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, as it pursues more ambitious emissions reduction policies. It proposes actionable recommendations to support the city’s updated Community Energy Transition Strategy.

The author emphasizes the importance of social justice in formulating and implementing climate strategies. The author advises against a “narrow view” of just transitions that focuses only on employment issues and instead promotes a broader view of social equity. With this in mind, the author explores the potential injustices of a carbon-neutral transition in the City of Edmonton. The author concludes with an Edmonton-specific framework for a just and equitable transition that includes both general guiding principles and action-oriented recommendations for the city.

Getting it Right: A Just Transition Strategy for Alberta’s Coal Workers

This report examines a just transition in the context of Alberta, Canada’s phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation and uses previous experiences to outline best practices.


This report analyzes the changes in the electricity-generation sector in Alberta in response to the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada’s decision to phase out emissions from coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. The paper explores a just transition in the context of these changes and emphasizes the need for a fair transition for workers.

The report examines case studies from different regions and discusses lessons learned from Alberta’s phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation. The authors emphasize the need to provide well-paid alternative jobs and advocate for a highly targeted and specific plan that involves labor organizations, workers, and communities to ensure each stakeholder’s interests are considered. This report calls for government leadership, but also for the establishment of an independent agency, potentially called the Alberta Economic Adjustment Agency (AEAA), that would oversee the transition free of political interference.

Real People, Real Change: Strategies for Just Energy Transitions

This report identifies four key principles for successful just transitions: understanding the context, identifying champions, making the case, and implementing just transitions measures.


This report analyzes elements of successful strategies for just transitions through four core principles: understanding the context, identifying champions, making the case, and implementing just transitions measures. The authors provide guidelines for each of these principles, using them to examine six short case studies of just transitions in various countries, highlighting successes and failures.

The paper outlines best practices for just transitions, including a summary of steps to initiate or support just transitions. The authors recommend detailed political economy analysis be done in advance and emphasize the importance of developing clear political and communications strategies that explain the rationale and tangible benefits of transitions. The authors also identify funding mechanisms for just transitions and assess quantitative approaches to estimating employment impacts. A table lists important tactics to help achieve these goals.

Mapping Just Transition(s) to a Low-carbon World

This paper defines just transitions and emphasizes the term’s roots in social and environmental justice, especially for those in the climate sphere who are less familiar with these underpinnings.


This paper helps define just transitions, emphasizing the origins of the concept in the labor movement and in social and environmental justice. The paper includes a schematic of the approaches of various groups to just transitions, mapping the views of various stakeholders and broadly grouping them under four approaches: status quo maintenance, managerial reform, structural reform, and transformative reform.

The authors review the origins of the concept of just transitions in the U.S. labor movement in the 1970s and discuss how it spread in the 2000s, largely under the rubric of climate policy and with more support from UN agencies and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The authors also explore the evolution of the just transition concept through case studies of six countries: Brazil, Canada, Germany, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States.

Framework Development for ‘Just Transition’ in Coal Producing Jurisdictions

This academic paper provides a comparative analysis of transition policies employed in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany; Alberta, Canada; and Victoria, Australia, and offers a framework for implementing just transitions in coal-dependent jurisdictions.


The rhetoric of a just transition is central to energy and development policy discourse, yet recent studies have identified substantial challenges to its implementation. This paper provides a theoretical and practical comparative analysis of transition policies employed in three first-world jurisdictions dependent on coal: North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, Alberta in Canada, and Victoria in Australia. These jurisdictions adopted different approaches based on their varying experiences with prior economic transitions, understandings of sustainable development, and government priorities and support.

The success of these policies is evaluated in terms of social dialogue, re-employability, re-training, and state welfare, all of which the European Trade Union Institute considers critical factors of a just transition. The authors identify which measures overcame key challenges in the achievement of a just transition and successfully ameliorated the socioeconomic well-being of coal-dependent workers and communities.

Based on these findings, the authors propose a framework for achieving a just transition in coal-dependent jurisdictions. This framework is broken into two phases, pre-transition and transition, illustrating the importance of planning and proactive social dialogue. The framework also identifies the important role of governments in assisting workers and communities in navigating the transition process and in supporting new and emerging low carbon industries in the context of sustainable development. The paper concludes by recommending topics for further study, including coal transitions in developing country contexts, consideration of a wider range of impacts, and testing of the proposed framework.