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What is "Just Transition"?

How (Not) to Phase-out Coal: Lessons from Germany for Just and Timely Coal Exits

This paper identifies nine key lessons learned from Germany’s coal phaseout to help guide effective and equitable coal transitions elsewhere in the world.


This report examines the positive and negative elements of the coal transition process in Germany. The authors propose nine benchmarks for governing coal phaseouts in Europe and elsewhere. A timely and just coal phaseout requires good leadership, transparency, social inclusion, and the legal flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, among other aspects.

Looking at the legislation shaping Germany’s coal phaseout, the authors argue that its decision to set a rigid deadline created an unstable transition process and generated conflict. They suggest that the lack of flexibility in the country’s legal framework will result in an unsynchronized coal exit with no room for “future governments to adjust the pathways and end date.” Although a national commission was created to oversee the phaseout, the authors criticize the lack of clarity regarding the implementation of its recommendations. They claim that regional and local stakeholders were not sufficiently involved in the phaseout process and call for aligning just transition measures with climate and sustainable development targets

Local Community Participation in the Transformation Action Plan for the Slovakia’s Upper Nitra Coal Region

This brief describes local involvement in the creation of an action plan for the coal transition in Upper Nitra, Slovakia, and proposes new ways to improve community engagement.


This brief describes the process of creating an action plan for the transformation of the coal region of Upper Nitra, Slovakia, which included the involvement of local citizens, various levels of government, and the European Commission.

The local government invited citizens and community stakeholders to contribute to the action plan through approximately fifteen meetings. The Upper Nitra region became a pilot in the European Commission’s initiative for coal regions in transition, created to facilitate the development of projects and long-term strategies in these regions. Through their involvement, the European Commission sought to support the development of the action plan.

The brief reflects on how the process of local engagement could have been improved and offers recommendations for how to enhance local engagement throughout all stages of implementation. It urges the government to improve communication with the general public, increase civil society involvement, and communicate transparently about layoffs of mine workers.