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What is "Just Transition"?

Coal Transition in the Czech Republic

This case study analyzes the Czech Republic’s gradual coal transition, including the government’s efforts to phase out mining and restore damaged lands.


This case study presents a detailed analysis of a gradual coal transition in the Czech Republic from 1990 to 2015. The political and social changes in 1989 led to an extensive economic transformation. The recession in heavy industry and its associated decrease in energy supply, along with environmental pressures, led the government to oversee a decline in coal production.

The study examines the Czech economy and key energy reforms between 1990 and 2015. The national government’s plan sought to restructure the electricity sector, moving away from coal in favor of renewables. The environmental reforms of 1991, which placed limits on six coal mining fields, sought to protect the environment and villages from further expansions of coal mines and, in effect, reduced national coal production.

In addition to discussing the negative impacts of coal mine privatization, the authors analyze the implications of the national government reforms and discuss various policy responses that aimed to mitigate the ecological and social impacts of the transition. Many of these efforts related to the rehabilitation and remediation of environmentally damaged lands. The authors suggest that the delay in regional support measures resulted in the social isolation of affected areas, characterized by low employment rates, standards of living, and economic performance.

Coal Transition in the United States

This report describes the U.S. shift away from coal, including its driving forces and policy measures to ease the transition.


This report provides an analysis of the U.S. coal sector transformation over the last decade. It describes the decline of U.S. coal production after 2008 due to unfavorable market dynamics and a changing federal regulatory environment. It then discusses the shale gas revolution and the expansion of renewable sources of energy, which created competition with alternative fuels in utility sectors.

The report focuses on Obama-era environmental regulations, which had a significant impact on U.S. coal production between 2014 and 2016. The Obama administration’s decarbonization efforts, which set limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, led to a decline in domestic demand for coal. Moreover, the federal extension of renewables tax credits enabled wind and solar to become competitive in the energy market.

This report examines recent distributional impacts of the coal sector transition and discusses the various policy measures that were introduced, including their successes and their failures. The author argues that the Trump administration’s rollback of environmental regulations and tax cuts for coal companies will not be enough to revive the coal sector and emphasizes the need to manage impacts on coal communities.

Coal Transition in the United Kingdom

This report highlights the main elements of the coal transition in the United Kingdom and discusses the government’s policies in response to the unintended consequences of the coal transition.


This case study examines the United Kingdom’s coal transition, which began in the early 1980s amid unfavorable market conditions and the privatization of coal mines and power plants. A 2013 carbon tax, as well as the 2015 government decision to close unabated coal-fired power plants, accelerated the transition process, leading to a near complete phase-out of coal use.

The report analyses the socioeconomic impacts of the transition, focusing on unemployment, high electricity bills for the poor, and low wages for alternative jobs. The author also discusses the policy measures implemented to ease the transition and describes various financial streams, such as the European Union Structural funds, that helped finance the revitalization of coal regions.

The report evaluates those policy measures against their intended outcomes. The measures were considered economically successful (as they provided 180,000 alternative jobs) but failed to meet other social needs. Although they were never designed to be aligned with climate change policies, they have evolved through time in response to political pressures. Some of the measures, such as the welfare benefits for redundant workers, are well embedded in the United Kingdom’s economic model. The report, however, calls for enhanced planning and early warnings of closures in future transitions.

The EBRD Just Transition Initiative: Sharing the Benefits of a Green Economy Transition and Protecting Vulnerable Countries, Regions and People from Falling behind

This paper sets out the aims, rationale, and broad approach to implementation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s just transition initiative.


This paper examines how the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will support progress in the economies where it invests. The paper outlines the aims, rationale, and broad approach to implementation of the EBRD’s just transition initiative, which aims to help the bank’s regions share the benefits of a green economic transition and to protect vulnerable countries, regions, and people from falling behind. The initiative builds on the EBRD’s experience of fostering transition toward sustainable, well-functioning market economies and focuses on the link between the green economy and economic inclusion. Working with national and regional authorities, EBRD clients, and other partners, the initiative emphasizes policy and commercial financing interventions that support a green transition while also assisting workers (particularly those whose livelihoods are linked to fossil fuels) in accessing new opportunities.

The paper includes an overview of the EBRD’s emerging just transition diagnostic and metrics for screening investments. This approach helps the bank screen certain regions and industries for vulnerabilities, assess the potential for various investments to advance just transition objectives and the bank’s core goals, and develop a set of policies and investment activities. This framework is especially useful in demonstrating how development finance institutions can link individual investments with broader regional plans, including in place-based investment.

Seven Principles to Realize a Just Transition to a Low-carbon Economy

This report proposes seven basic policy principles to support just transitions in response to climate change and offers concrete ways to apply these principles in practice.


“Based on a critical review of former transitions, the authors distill seven basic principles for ensuring just transitions: actively encourage decarbonization; avoid creating carbon lock-in and more “losers” in these sectors; support affected regions; support workers, their families, and the wider community affected by closures or downscaling; clean up environmental damage and ensure that related costs are not transferred from the private to the public sector; address existing economic and social inequalities; and ensure an inclusive and transparent planning process.

These principles highlight the importance of supporting affected workers but place equal emphasis on ensuring environmental protection and restoration, diversifying industry and other economic activities, and tackling socioeconomic inequity (including gender inequality) in an active pursuit of decarbonization. The authors offer recommendations on how to implement each of these principles, arguing that the justness of a transition comes from pursuing each of these principles simultaneously and that failure to do so will result in a lack of necessary social and economic support. “