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What is "Just Transition"?

Invest in Climate, Invest in Growth – Chapter 6: Towards an Inclusive Transition

This chapter examines the social and economic factors that affect governments’ climate policy decisions and advocates considering political economy dimensions when preparing long-term climate strategies.


This chapter examines the socioeconomic factors that influence governments’ abilities to envision and implement an effective climate response. Drawing on lessons from former industrial transitions, the authors emphasize the significance of local political economy dimensions. They advocate being proactive about engaging stakeholders and formulating exit strategies and offer recommendations on how to incorporate these dimensions into the development of robust, long-term, low-emission strategies.

In addition, the authors examine the potential impact of carbon pricing on households and offer lessons from past experiences with fossil-fuel subsidy reforms. They then examine the impact of climate mitigation on workers, highlighting specific aspects of former transitions from around the world.

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 Poland

This case study presents two coal transition scenarios for Poland and offers policy recommendations to protect workers and support employment potential in vulnerable coal-producing areas.


This case study presents coal transition scenarios for Poland using two different models: a baseline scenario (business as usual) and a 2-degree scenario aiming for future energy mix that is compliant with the Paris Agreement. The paper includes detailed modeling of Poland’s future energy mix, coal output, coal consumption by sector, and employment in the coal sector through 2050 under these two scenarios. The business-as-usual scenario reflects historical trends and predicts a slower reduction in coal mining by 2030, although the local coal sector is already losing economic competitiveness. The 2-degree scenario, by contrast, suggests an acceleration of the coal phase-out and a steeper reduction in the coal workforce by 2030.

The latter portion of the paper focuses on labor market issues. The authors suggest that stronger efforts are required to protect workers and communities and to prepare for an impending transition. The paper recommends implementing vocational training and other assistance measures that encourage miners to remain in the workforce. They also emphasize the need to stimulate labor demand in coal-mining regions, including in industries where miners’ skill sets may be suitable, such as in construction and manufacturing.