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What is "Just Transition"?

Equity, Climate Justice and Fossil Fuel Extraction: Principles for a Managed Phase Out

This paper offers general principles and policy insights to help the international community equitably manage the social dimensions of a rapid transition away from fossil-fuel extraction.


This paper explores how to equitably manage the social dimensions of a rapid transition away from fossil-fuel extraction within international climate politics. It analyzes equity issues related to fossil-fuel extraction and efforts to curb it in accordance with climate targets. The authors examine three common equity approaches from the literature, from which they derive guiding principles and policy recommendations for managing this global challenge.

The authors review the distributional issues arising from the phaseout of fossil-fuel extraction and argue that meeting international climate targets will require a more strategic approach to accelerating transitions in both Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries. They then examine the implications of fossil-fuel extraction for employment, public revenues, and energy provision, examining how extraction activities can be both a “blessing” and a “curse.”

The authors then discuss three equity frameworks that appear in the broader climate-policy literature: allocating carbon budgets based on economic efficiency, development needs, and “fair shares” of global transitional efforts. Drawing from this analysis, they propose five principles for managing concerns related to equity and climate change, touching on questions surrounding the cost and pace of transitions, as well as the distributional impacts at various levels of government. They conclude with policy suggestions for how to apply these principles in practice.

The Impact of Climate Change on Tribal Communities in the US: Displacement, Relocation, and Human Rights

This collection of case studies examines the implications of climate-induced relocation and U.S. government support for Indigenous peoples facing the threat of displacement.


Sea level rise, erosion, and permafrost thaw are threatening to displace coastal and low-lying Indigenous communities in the United States. These communities are now faced with the challenge of climate-induced relocation. This paper presents three case studies from Kivalina and Newtok, Alaska, and Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, to examine the implications of displacement on these communities and propose an international standard for resettlement and relocation rooted in a human rights framework.

These three communities are already facing the devastating consequences of climate change and have begun preparations to relocate. However, the U.S. government has provided them little assistance with their resettlement. In fact, current policies limit the amount of government support and funds available to these communities for relocation and instead channel assistance and funding toward the existing at-risk areas.

In response to the inadequate levels of assistance, the authors propose creating a unified federal agency and relocation policy to coordinate resettlement efforts. This new approach should advocate for the rights and desires of Indigenous people and maintain their tribal rights to determination and preservation. If successful, this approach can serve as a model for relocation policy globally.