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What is "Just Transition"?

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.

Implementing Coal Transitions: Insights from Case Studies of Major Coal-consuming Economies

This report summarizes insights from the various workstreams of IDDRI’s Coal Transitions project, which seeks to develop feasible trajectories and policy guidance for deep transitions in major coal-producing countries.


This report summarizes key findings from the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations’ (IDDRI) Coal Transitions project, which seeks to support fact-based dialogue on the future of coal through analysis of past coal and industrial transitions. It reviews transition scenarios for six major coal-consuming economies (China, India, South Africa, Poland, Germany, and Australia) to analyze the global coal trade.

The author argues that coal transitions are already underway due to both climate and non-climate policy factors, that coal transitions are technically feasible and affordable, that past successes indicate just transitions for coal workers and communities are possible, and that coal transitions could strengthen global climate action and deliver other social and economic objectives.
The report concludes with recommendations for further research in order to better understand options related to local contexts and how an industry can limit its use of thermal and metallurgical coal. It emphasizes the importance of social dialogue as a condition for appropriately supporting workers and communities to manage the transition in a way that does not exacerbate existing fragilities.