Climate change poses an unprecedented threat to the planet, requiring rapid economic and social transformations that will affect workers and communities and have broader impacts on society. Governments, labor groups, investors, civil society, and environmental organizations are increasingly using the principles of just transitions to address the social implications of climate policy and ensure that workers and communities are supported and empowered through these changes. It is essential to make the tools and strategies for just transitions more accessible and relevant to policymakers. This paper summarizes several policy objectives and tools, as well as cross-cutting enablers that can support socially inclusive processes and equitable distribution of the risks and benefits associated with transitions.
- Political economy analysis
- Power-Mapping: key actors, influence, and preferences
- Stakeholder engagement
- Consultation: interviews, surveys, discussion groups, negotiations
- Public outreach: transparent communication strategies
- Capacity building
- Skills development and knowledge sharing between institutions and communities
- Impact analysis
- Identifying pre-existing and potential inequalities and vulnerabilities
- Social and environmental impact assessments
Promote decent work and labor protections: employment that delivers fair income, workplace security, equality of opportunity for women and men, and the ability to organize.
- Social dialogue
- Social protections (unemployment insurance and benefits, workforce redeployment, non-financial transition assistance)
- Skills development (vocational training and reskilling programs, national skills development)
- Workers’ rights (labor standards including freedom of association and collective bargaining)
Create place-based investment and regional development plans: short- and long-term plans and positive visions for sustainable development, aligned with national plans.
- Targeted industrial policy (tax incentives, subsidies, investment guarantees)
- Adaptation and resilience plans
- Infrastructure investment
- Needs assessment and alignment with long-term plans, including assessment of skills and education
- Environmental remediation and restoration
Encourage decarbonization: plans aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and 1.5/2°C Paris Agreement targets.
- Long-term decarbonization strategies and interim targets
- Fossil fuel subsidy reform and reallocation
- Energy efficiency programs (building retrofits, appliance standards, building codes, energy benchmarking)
Mobilize climate finance at scale: catalyze sufficient investment to meet the climate finance challenge.
- Dedicated just transition funds
- Blended finance
- Financial sector reforms (fiduciary responsibility, disclosure requirements, public procurement adjustments)
- Green bonds and sustainability bonds
The paper explores these elements by examining two essential aspects of just transition policies: gender-responsive policies and place-based investment. Gender and social equity are complex aspects of just transitions, and it is important to analyze gender in the context of energy transitions to identify strategies that can promote socially equitable outcomes. Gender-responsive policies can help to address women’s socio-economic vulnerabilities, enhance women’s energy access, and leverage their capacity to drive positive change. Another important element of just transitions is place-based investment. Efforts to phase out coal production or eliminate emissions-intensive industry will create acute challenges for certain regions in terms of employment, wealth, and social well-being. This paper examines the potential impact of place-based or regionally focused investment in just transitions planning.