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Resource Library

This library provides a curated list of resources on just transitions, to help users locate key research material and policy guidance on just transitions.

The Just Transition Initiative has summarized these resources, and these descriptions do not necessarily represent the views of the associated authors and organizations.

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Europe’s coal regions: Boosting employment, environment, economy through ‘just transition’

The report, aimed at the European Union (EU), national and local policymakers, looks at coal regions in Poland, Greece, and Bulgaria and assesses the consequences of decarbonization for the local labor market; identifies alternative economic activities that could transform the economic structure of the region; as well as defines the tools and support needed to effectively plan and manage the process.

Detail

The report takes a detailed look at expected local employment and community-related impacts in Silesia and Eastern Wielkopolska in Poland; Western Macedonia and Megalopolis in Greece; and the Pernik and Bobov Dol regions of southwestern Bulgaria. Furthermore, it also offers recommendations on the biggest Bulgarian coal region, Stara Zagora. The authors report that, as of March 2021, half of Europe’s coal plants had already shut down or set a closure date. The study profiles individual regions and highlights key findings related to employment and wage prospects, lost income from indirect jobs, the types of jobs to which mining workers could transition, and the expected delay before economic benefits from the transition accrue.

It finds that planning, local participation, transparency, and a commitment to ending fossil fuels are crucial aspects for all the regions. These aspects, along with financing, can turn coal communities into sustainably and economically thriving places to live. The report makes recommendations for EU policymakers to consider while approving the Territorial Just Transition Plans that include: the verification of the “Partnership Principle”; the prevention of further investment in fossil-intensive industries; the application of the “polluter pays” principle; the provision of support for all workers affected; and the alignment with other EU funds. The report provides additional recommendations to national and local policymakers to ensure a just transition.

Workers and Communities in Transition: Report of the Just Transition Listening Project

The report synthesizes lessons from more than 100 listening sessions with labor and community groups to gather their perspectives on transitions as well as identifies how coalitions have come together and what pathways exist to a just future.

Detail

The findings of this report are derived from more than 100 in-depth listening sessions, including qualitative interviews and focused discussion groups with workers and community members from across the United States, which were conducted in 2020. The sessions, typically lasting an hour or more, involved workers from dozens of unionized and nonunionized industries; union leaders; members of frontline communities, including environmental justice communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities; along with leaders from labor, environmental justice, climate justice, and other community organizations.

The aim of the sessions was to capture the voices of the workers and community members who had experienced, are currently experiencing, or anticipate experiencing some form of economic transition. The report suggests how past transitions, driven by market forces, corporate entities, and shortsighted public policies, often leave workers and communities largely behind, with little to no support. As such, community trauma has gone unrecognized and unaddressed for years.

The report identifies several themes that have emerged through these sessions, including a picture of what transition entails; how coalitions have come together, particularly those including labor and environment groups; how common vision and strategies for change are built; and what pathways to a just future exist. The report also highlights how individual and collective understandings of transitions range widely, according to type of work, class, gender, race, age, political ideology, previous experiences with environmentalists or the climate justice movement, and relationships with unions and the community. The report affords insightful reading and covers recommendations for policymakers; labor and movement organizations; and future research to fill in the identified gaps in knowledge, including understanding how sectoral transitions such as automation, digitalization, hybrid working, and health care could be done in an equitable manner.

Seizing the Urban Opportunity: How National Governments can Recover from Covid-19, Tackle the Climate Crisis and Secure shared Prosperity through Cities

This collaborative report examines how national governments can leverage cities to help address the triple challenge of Covid-19, sustainable development, and climate change.

Detail

The authors discuss how national governments can harness cities to bring about a sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic economic recovery while achieving climate goals. They focus on six emerging economies to demonstrate how fostering zero-carbon, resilient, and inclusive cities can advance national economic priorities for shared prosperity.

Referencing case studies from China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa, the authors explore three themes: 1) the need for a low-carbon urban transformation and its associated socio-economic benefits; 2) the importance of both resilience and decarbonization; and 3) the availability of resources to foster low-carbon, resilient, and inclusive cities. To inspire countries ahead of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), they analyze how cities can help national governments not only achieve their climate goals and shared prosperity, but also accelerate the Covid-19 recovery by making them more connected, inclusive, and clean.

The authors conclude with a global call to action, urging national governments to develop climate and sustainable development strategies centered around cities. While governments are essential to implementing transformative policies, the authors urge national leadership to partner with the private sector and local climate-action groups to finance sustainable and resilient urban infrastructure.

Rybnik Transition City: A research report on the narratives of Rybnik’s inhabitants

Relying on "Deep Listening", the report presents a reconstruction of diverse perspectives of stakeholders in Rybnik, Poland regarding planned mine closures, entrepreneurship, and the quality of life, as well as portrays the city in its functioning today and its vision for the future.

Detail

The report looks at the transitions taking place in Rybnik, Poland — one of Europe’s biggest coal regions. It is a part of the Rybnik360 project — a pilot project aimed at developing systemic innovations that support the transformation of the city from its coal mining past. This report employs the “Deep Listening” method that consists of a diagnosis of the situation through a series of interviews with Rybnik’s inhabitants. It focuses on three themes—planned mine closures, entrepreneurship, and the quality of life. Through over 100 partially structured interviews, the report evaluates changes taking place in the city over the last 30 years, perceptions of the current situation in the city, along with the challenges and opportunities related to the further development of the city.

Applying the “Deep Listening” method, the report sets out the context related to the resources and key aspects of the city functioning from the points of view of its inhabitants and opinion leaders. Furthermore, it identifies the key actors and offers a polyphonic narrative of the city within the context of the three themes that are explored through the voices of its inhabitants. Conclusions drawn by the author suggest the need for future-oriented thinking, the strengthening of a local identity, a focus on improvements in the quality of life, and efforts to increase access to accurate information. The narratives section, in particular, provides a useful and replicable approach in highlighting and framing the perspectives of various stakeholders in the city.

Mitigating inequality with emissions? Exploring energy justice and financing transitions to low carbon energy in Indonesia

This article analyzes energy justice in Indonesia’s transition to low-carbon energy and explores how policies have exacerbated energy injustice.

Detail

This article explores Indonesia’s efforts to reduce energy poverty in its transition to low-carbon energy, with a particular focus on how distributive, procedural, and recognition justice has been included in policies aimed at increasing private investment in renewable energy electrification. Based on the analysis derived from qualitative interviews, field observation, and the review of government documents and policies, the author argues that despite Indonesia’s energy justice agenda of providing access to affordable electricity for all, the policies in place do not effectively promote energy justice.

In terms of distributive justice, the author argues that spatial injustice in electricity access is still prevalent, especially in the eastern part of Indonesia, where many communities lack reliable energy access. The author suggests that many renewable rural electrification projects may exacerbate this spatial inequality by supplying households and cities that have access to a grid network, while neglecting communities that live closest to the electricity generation sites. This is partly due to the government’s encouragement of private investment that favors large-scale projects, thereby further exacerbating geographic inequalities. The author argues that procedural injustice is also prevalent in the energy decision-making processes due to a lack of transparency in the current bidding and procurement processes and limited space for the public participation and engagement in decisions. In terms of recognition, the author asserts that marginalized communities living in areas, where electricity is not considered economically favorable, are neglected and denied electricity access.

The author also makes suggestions for better ways to incorporate energy justice principles into policies and programs. First, energy policies should include more inclusive approaches, such as encouraging public participation and increasing transparency. Second, energy policies need to incentivize diversity beyond large-scale and on-grid projects to effectively target those most affected by energy poverty. Third, contextually grounded approaches best suited to the needs of local communities should be prioritized. Finally, public finance should also be considered in addressing the needs of those most vulnerable to energy poverty.

Toolkit for assessing effective Territorial Just Transition Plans

This paper identifies a set of principles and proposes a tool for assessing whether European Union (EU) member states’ Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) that are required for them to access the EU Just Transition Fund would be effective for delivering a just transition.

Detail

This paper identifies a set of principles and includes an associated toolkit to assess whether the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs), developed by member countries of the EU in order to access the EU Just Transition Fund, can enable the delivery of a truly just transition to climate neutrality. Targeted at policymakers, municipalities, civil society, and other partners involved in developing plans, it aims to provide guidance on what a good plan looks like and enable an evaluation of the quality of the plans developed.

The methodology of the tool is based on a series of indicators that allow one to review the performance of the plans against 10 principles. The application of the methodology, which is also available as a webtool, results in a “traffic-light” rating on the plans. WWF intended for the toolkit to be used by the European Commission, national and local policymakers, and any other stakeholders engaged in the development of the plans. WWF has also indicated that published reports are verified and added to their website’s resource page.

A Just Transition for Whom? Politics, Contestation, and Social Identity in the Disruption of Coal in the Powder River Basin

This case study on the Powder River Basin in Wyoming examines the impact of the sudden shutdown of two large coal mines on local perceptions toward the energy transition and just transition policies.

Detail

This case study examines whether attitudes toward the U.S. energy transition and just transitions changed following the bankruptcy and closure of two large coal mines in 2019 in the Powder River Basin (PRB) in Wyoming. PBR, the largest coal-mining region in the United States, is home to highly productive and environmentally sustainable mechanized mining and lucrative mining jobs.

The author sets out to empirically determine whether conditions exist that allow for decreased opposition to the transition and increased support for government intervention. The analysis relies on interviews from 13 local individuals, including elected officials, advocates, government officials, a local reporter, and coal industry professionals—but no coal industry workers, as they declined to be interviewed.

The interviews suggest the sudden closure of two mines reinforced negative perceptions toward the energy transition. In fact, there is strong support for continuing to develop the coal mining industry, with advocates claiming that the less invasive mechanized mining used in the region means that PRB coal is an environmentally sustainable option. The transition remains heavily contested in the area because of the strong economic impact of the coal industry on the PRB and the deep cultural ties to mining in the area. Additionally, because of its remoteness and distance from transportation hubs, there is little impetus for economic diversification in the PRB.

Coal Community Sourcebook: Local Experts, Issues & Ideas from Local Voices

This resource provides information and resources on community-led efforts in coal-impacted communities in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Wyoming, including a list of local organizations with innovative approaches and ideas.

Detail

This report is the outcome of community listening sessions held by research organizations in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Wyoming to compile data and mainstream important issues and challenges pertaining to coal-impacted communities. It summarizes local communities’ work on these issues and provides an appendix of local organizations for policymakers’ consideration. It concludes by highlighting federal programs and actions that these communities have identified as crucial.

The report examines the socioeconomic impact of the coal decline on local communities across the United States and criticizes the lack of federal support to remedy those effects. It identifies key areas—such as local water and road infrastructure, healthcare, education, social safety nets, and local small businesses—that need federal funding to boost the local economy. More importantly, it calls for communities’ involvement in designing and implementing policy to ensure their knowledge and creativity are taken into consideration.

The report further describes key federal programs and actions that can be readjusted to provide resources and technical support to frontline communities. These include miners’ pension and health benefits, the Abandoned Mine Funds (AML), the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, and the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and Small Business Administration, which provide grants to local small businesses. The report includes an appendix containing contact information for local organizations and individual leaders who can serve as resources to policymakers.

The Role of Public Benefits in Supporting Workers and Communities Affected by Energy Transition

This report examines how existing federal benefits programs can play a role in delivering transition relief to workers and communities that are heavily reliant on fossil fuel-related economic activity.

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The authors examine federal public benefits programs and discuss their role, alongside other programs, in delivering relief to affected workers and communities and helping them to thrive in a low-emissions future. While public benefits programs are not designed for energy transitions, they can be the first line of defense for struggling individuals and communities. As such, the authors recommend preserving and expanding public benefits programs to complement other, more tailored policy measures.

The authors assess existing federal programs and policies that distribute resources to smooth economic volatility and guarantee a basic level of security, health, and well-being for individuals and households. They group public benefits programs into two general categories based on eligibility criteria: social safety net programs and industry-specific benefits. Within each category, they assess the effectiveness and relevance of existing programs in the context of just transitions.

Based on this very detailed analysis, the authors share eight insights that can help inform policy to support communities affected by a long-term shift away from fossil-fuel energy. They conclude that social safety nets can contribute to fairness for fossil-fuel communities in transition despite their limitations when it comes to replacing income from employment. In addition, despite their ability to contribute to communities’ well-being and economic stability, they find that industry-specific benefits remain unsustainable in the context of industry decline. They then recommend reforming bankruptcy rules to help minimize moral-hazard risk, as well as other reforms that could increase budgets for industry-dependent programs in the context of just transition.

Supporting Just Transitions in South Africa: A Case Study

This case study explores key dimensions of just transitions and draws lessons from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF)’s contributions to the energy transition, the expansion of renewable energy, and the implications for workers and communities in South Africa.

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This case study explores key dimensions of just transition in South Africa, which has a long engagement with the concept and was one of the first countries to include an explicit reference to just transitions in its Nationally Determined Contribution. The case study reflects on the contributions of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), through its partner multilateral development banks, to the energy transition in South Africa.

The document uses the just transitions framework developed by the CIF and the Center for Strategic and International Studies to explore issues of social inclusion and distributional justice in South Africa’s energy transition. It provides a broader review of South Africa’s energy transition implications for national planning, and discusses social inclusion, financing, Covid-19 recovery programs, skills development and geographic disparities.

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.

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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

Environmental Remediation and Infrastructure Policies Supporting Workers and Communities in Transition

This report reviews U.S. federal policies related to environmental remediation and infrastructure spending that can help support workers in fossil fuel–dependent communities.

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This report examines major federal policies related to environmental remediation and infrastructure spending, highlighting evidence of the effectiveness of these programs in terms of costs, job creation, and positive externalities. The author identifies programs that could support the communities and workers who are negatively affected by an energy transition. The author measures the cost-effectiveness of federal spending on programs to clean up “Superfund” sites, cap orphaned oil and gas wells, improve water infrastructure, construct and maintain highways, and install broadband capacity.

One section of the paper covers environmental remediation, including the closure of coal mines and nuclear or oil and gas sites. The paper notes the positive spillover effects, such as increased property values, of many environmental remediation programs. A second section covers infrastructure programs that support construction and related industries. The author notes that economists disagree on whether federal spending on infrastructure, for example highway construction, creates more economic activity or simply redistributes it.

Both environmental remediation and infrastructure programs can contribute to a just transition. However, the author warns of potential environmental justice concerns that can result from federal spending in these areas, including post-remediation gentrification and worsening air pollution in minority communities due to transportation infrastructure.

Just Transitions: Assessing Gender Dimensions

This podcast discusses the gender dimensions of just transitions and offers recommendations for policy planning and implementation.

Detail

This podcast focuses on the gender and social dimensions of just transitions. Adrienne Cruz with the International Labor Organization and May Thazin Aung with the Stockholm Environment Institute join Sarah Ladislaw from CSIS’s Energy Security and Climate Change Program to explore gender dimensions and strategies to support gender equitable outcomes and processes.

They discuss lessons from past experiences, as well as the need for gender responsive policies that address women’s unique challenges and needs and that promote their involvement in decision-making processes.

Just Transitions: Local Lessons and Global Insights from South Africa

This Energy 360 podcast on just transitions in South Africa provides local lessons and broader global insights from a country that has a long history of engaging with just transitions in the context of high levels of unemployment, inequality, poverty, and a high dependency on coal.

Detail

This podcast provides an easily accessible overview of the implications of just transitions in South Africa’s energy transition. The interview format allows a range of issues to be covered drawing on many years of experience within the energy sector, as well as a recent case study on just transitions in South Africa.

Topics covered include the importance of just transitions in a country that has some of the highest levels of inequality, unemployment, and poverty in the world. South Africa is also dependent on coal for the vast majority of its energy, particularly electricity, despite a substantial renewable energy procurement program. It is in this context that issues of sustainable development, social dialogue, financing a just transition, social transformation, geographic disparities, and skills development are discussed.

Economic Development Policies to Enable Fairness for Workers and Communities in Transition

This report analyzes the potential efficacy of U.S. federal policies and programs that could help fossil fuel–producing regions and workers transition to a low-carbon future.

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This report analyzes the U.S. federal programs that could help fossil fuel–producing regions transition to a low-carbon future. It divides these programs into those that target local or regional economies driven by natural resource development (including timber and agriculture as well as fossil fuels) and those with broader geographic or economic scope. The authors suggest that the former, place-based development approaches can be especially effective.

The report examines three regional economic approaches that might be successful in a just transition context: offering capacity-building programs and technical assistance, financially supporting public and community organizations, and financially supporting private firms that may otherwise struggle to access funding. The authors also indicate that such efforts would require coordination among federal, state, and local officials and that substantial scaling up would be required for them to have a meaningful impact.

The report identifies programs that target natural resource–dependent communities and highlights a handful of initiatives that could aid just transitions efforts. For example, the Economic Development Integration program coordinates multiple economic development initiatives across agencies while making deliverables more efficient, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development programs provide technical and financial support for public and private rural institutions. An extensive appendix in the report details many federal policies in full.

Enhancing the Role of National Development Banks in Supporting Climate-Smart Urban Infrastructure

This paper focuses on enhancing the role of national development banks in accelerating investment in climate-smart urban infrastructure.

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Because cities are essential to climate mitigation and uniquely vulnerable to climate impacts, there are compelling and wide-ranging reasons for them to invest in low-emissions and “climate-smart” infrastructure. However, cities face various barriers to implementing such changes, including pressure to address infrastructure deficits and improve basic services. In this context, the authors explore how national development banks (NDBs) can support climate-smart investments and address cities’ larger systemic challenges in their efforts to contribute to the Paris Agreement goals and broader development objectives.

The authors emphasize the comparative advantages of NDBs in supporting climate-smart urban infrastructure. They recommend several opportunities to enhance NDB support for such investments. Some of these recommendations are directed at NDBs, while others require action by national and local governments, bilateral cooperation agencies, and multilateral development banks or international financial institutions.

Insights from historical cases of transition: Background paper for the EBRD just transition initiative

The report suggests a series of considerations for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to allow for the integration of just transition considerations into its decarbonization operations, using historical evidence from other deep structural changes.

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The authors seek to offer insights into how transitions impact people, economies, and the environment, as well as the extent of the effectiveness of different kinds of responses including the impacts of not responding. Moreover, it provides useful considerations related to the needs of those who lose out in society, while addressing overall concerns about inequalities in societies affected by deep structural changes. The report was used to inform EBRD’s approach to just transitions, as set out in the document “The EBRD Just Transition Initiative”.

The authors highlight that without measures to promote a “just” transition, resistance will likely undermine its pace. They draw inferences from other deep structural transitions, such as the steel industries in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Newcastle, Australia, as well as the gold industry in Free State Province, South Africa, to offer insights into what to expect from a green transition.

The authors suggest a series of considerations for EBRD’s operational response to a just transition in order to create viable short-term and long-term solutions for local populations who are affected. Notably, they point out the need for strategic planning for impacted communities, governance structures, and state capacity to implement just transition actions, along with a holistic approach to regional economic development.

Just Transitions: Lessons Learned in South Africa and Eastern Europe

This commentary summarizes critical elements of case studies on just transitions to help guide future research, and includes lessons learned in ongoing just transitions work in South Africa and Eastern Europe.

Detail

This commentary summarizes a workshop held by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on just transitions in South Africa and Eastern Europe. More case studies on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia could shed light on just transitions in countries with fewer economic resources and more limited social safety nets. The commentary includes a table summarizing critical elements of case studies to help identify key insights and best practices in future research.

In South Africa, just transitions are urgent because market and policy signals indicate an inevitable decline of coal, yet a transition could harm workers and communities dependent on coal mining. Policies intended to elevate renewable energy in the country have also failed to support energy access for black communities or address issues of racial injustice. The author notes that just transitions in South Africa need to address issues of inclusivity and power relations.

Central and Eastern Europe is a focal point for just transitions as many countries in the region anticipate phasing out coal and emissions-intensive industries in the coming decades. This commentary cites several positive examples of community engagement and local participation in just transitions. However, case studies indicate that more should be done to boost input at the local level.

Jobs in a Net-Zero Emissions Future in Latin America and the Caribbean

The report details a decarbonization pathway for Latin America and the Caribbean region, identifies expected labor changes in various sectors, and focuses on equity considerations needed in each of the affected sectors.

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This report takes a detailed look at decarbonization pathways in the Latin America and the Caribbean region and highlights the potential to create 15 million net jobs in sectors, such as sustainable agriculture, forestry, solar and wind power, manufacturing, and construction during such a transition. The report suggests that, with adequately-designed measures to ensure that these jobs are decent and that those who lose out in the transition are protected and supported, recovery plans can create climate benefits, while also boosting growth, tackling inequality, and making progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

This report is based on an input-output analysis using a Global Trade Analysis Project Power database, a commonly employed tool for assessing the direct and indirect environmental and socioeconomic impacts of decarbonization efforts. The study finds that only three sectors would shrink in the transition to a decarbonized economy: 1) fossil-fuel based electricity, with about 80,000 jobs lost, or more than half of the current number; 2) fossil-fuel extraction, with almost a third of the current number, or 280,000 jobs eliminated; and 3) animal-based food production systems, with five percent of current jobs lost, representing half a million jobs.

The report provides a sectoral overview of the region and highlights how it is still struggling with gender and ethnic inequalities, skills gaps, insufficient social protection, and a large informal sector, despite more than a decade of steady progress. Prevailing decent work deficits, inequalities, and dependence on fossil fuel exports are expected to make Latin America and the Caribbean particularly susceptible to the social and economic impacts of climate change. The report also identifies the critical need for fairness in this transition and devotes a chapter to identifying the sector-wise equity and justice considerations needed to allow a successful transition in sectors that include energy, agriculture, forestry, waste management, tourism, transport, and construction.

Low-carbon Transitions in West Sumatra, Indonesia: Gender and Equity Dimensions

This brief provides community perspectives on renewable energy projects, focusing on gender and social equity concerns in low-carbon transitions in West Sumatra, Indonesia.

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This brief provides snapshots of community perspectives on renewable energy projects in West Sumatra, Indonesia, and suggests that customized approaches are needed to address local gender and social equity concerns effectively in low-carbon transitions.

West Sumatra was selected for this study due to its high potential for renewable energy generation and diversity of possible renewable energy sources. The authors reviewed four development sites in West Sumatra as transition examples: two geothermal projects, one micro hydro project, and an oil palm company that produces biofuel and also uses waste as biomass for energy production. They conducted interviews and focus group discussions that illuminate local gender and social equity implications, which often related to customary land management practices and gender roles. They also explore lessons learned from Indonesia’s subsidy program for liquified petroleum gas.

The authors argue that policymakers should adopt a gender-sensitive approach to renewable energy decision-making to identify potential policy repercussions that could worsen existing inequalities. This approach will produce results that benefit more people and satisfy the needs of more interest groups.

Actions to Transform Food Systems under Climate Change

This report identifies the current failures of the global food system and defines four areas in which it can be transformed to meet food and nutritional demands and combat climate change.

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“This report identifies the current failures of global food systems in eliminating food insecurity, providing nutritious food, and mitigating climate change. The global food system is currently a major contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fails to provide an adequate pathway to meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

To correct these food system failures, the authors recommend 11 transformative actions across four distinct categories: rerouting farming practices to eliminate GHG emissions and increase female and youth participation; de-risking farm livelihoods to increase resiliency against variable weather and extreme events; reducing emissions through dietary shifts and reductions in food waste; and realigning policies and finance to support social movements and spur innovation.

The costs of not reforming global food systems include increased food and nutrition insecurity, decreased smallholder participation, increased rural poverty, increased gender disparities and social inclusion, lost opportunities for rural youth, increased sensitivity to changing climate and extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity.”

The EBRD Just Transition Initiative: Sharing the Benefits of a Green Economy Transition and Protecting Vulnerable Countries, Regions and People from Falling behind

This paper sets out the aims, rationale, and broad approach to implementation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s just transition initiative.

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This paper examines how the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will support progress in the economies where it invests. The paper outlines the aims, rationale, and broad approach to implementation of the EBRD’s just transition initiative, which aims to help the bank’s regions share the benefits of a green economic transition and to protect vulnerable countries, regions, and people from falling behind. The initiative builds on the EBRD’s experience of fostering transition toward sustainable, well-functioning market economies and focuses on the link between the green economy and economic inclusion. Working with national and regional authorities, EBRD clients, and other partners, the initiative emphasizes policy and commercial financing interventions that support a green transition while also assisting workers (particularly those whose livelihoods are linked to fossil fuels) in accessing new opportunities.

The paper includes an overview of the EBRD’s emerging just transition diagnostic and metrics for screening investments. This approach helps the bank screen certain regions and industries for vulnerabilities, assess the potential for various investments to advance just transition objectives and the bank’s core goals, and develop a set of policies and investment activities. This framework is especially useful in demonstrating how development finance institutions can link individual investments with broader regional plans, including in place-based investment.

Just Transitions: Progress to Date and Challenges Ahead

This commentary focuses on gaps in knowledge and key research questions related to just transitions, identifying eight areas that merit more research and policy guidance.

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This commentary summarizes a workshop held by the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on just transitions. It identifies eight topics that merit new research and practical guidance. Several of these themes center on implementation. Most case studies focus on Western countries, but case studies and guidance should account for the political, economic, social, and environmental context in the Global South. Just transitions proponents should also focus on power dynamics and political economy issues, to identify potential blockers and enablers.

The authors note that cities, regional governments, and local actors are often left out of planning processes. The commentary suggests that workers in the informal sector should have greater prominence in just transitions plans. Social protections and worker assistance should also account for the needs of women as well as indigenous people and ethnic minorities.

The commentary identifies critical questions related to financing a just transition. It notes the importance of place-based investment for affected regions, as well as the need for new financing instruments to meet the scale of the climate challenge. Although private investors have a key role to play in financing just transitions, there is more work to be done on educating investors on just transitions principles, especially in terms of social as opposed to environmental goals.

Just Transition Concepts and Relevance for Climate Action

This report explains the origins and evolution of just transitions, and offers a framework to represent the range of definitions as well as underlying ideologies and approaches.

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This report outlines the origins of just transitions in the US labor movement, the later adoption of the concept by the environmental and climate justice movements, and its role in international climate negotiations. The authors note that the term “just transitions” evokes a range of responses, from enthusiasm to confusion to outright skepticism, suggesting the need for a clear definition.

The paper presents a framework to capture the range of definitions and interpretations of just transitions. One key dimension is scope, including both distributional impacts—or who and what is affected in transitions—as well as intention (the ideological preference between reforming or transforming existing political and economic systems through just transitions). The other dimension in the framework is social inclusion, or the range of recognition and procedural justice for various groups. The framework does not seek to identify a single “correct” definitions of just transitions, but rather captures a range of ideologies and approaches to the concept.

A final section of the paper suggests that the next stage of just transitions work will be to advance solutions and to apply lessons learned. The authors list several priorities for future research including concrete tools and strategies, more case studies of developing countries, more effective social engagement, and new financing methods.

Transformative Climate Finance: A new approach for climate finance to achieve low-carbon resilient development in developing countries

The report highlights the need for the catalytic deployment of international public finance for climate finance and identifies eight levers for driving climate action, with just transition considerations seen as a necessary crosscutting theme to ensure progress.

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The report identifies the mismatch between the amount of funding available and the amount needed for climate finance, thus highlighting the need to deploy international public climate finance more catalytically to increase the flows of private capital and government spending. The report identifies eight sets of financing levers for driving climate action: project-based investments, financial sector reforms, fiscal policies, sectoral policies, trade policies, innovation and technology transfer, carbon markets, and climate intelligence. For each of these levers, the report identifies the main interventions available, barriers to action, as well as the role and relevance of the instruments available. The report also broadly lists the mitigation and adaptation priorities across different sectors, including energy systems, land and ecosystem, the urban and infrastructure, as well as industrial systems.

The need for an equitable consideration of social and political economy issues in the countries and the regions to which they are applied is highlighted as a crosscutting issue across all levers. The report states that the use of climate finance to support this process, even when it does not achieve climate results directly, is essential for successful clean development. The report suggests that more can be done to refine the differentiation of climate finance to match the specific needs and circumstances of countries. This includes applying tiered conditionality for more advanced countries, which is dependent on their own efforts and orientation toward long-term strategies.

The report also acknowledges that a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the societal dimensions of transformative climate action covering all relevant sectors of the economy, along with the major types of transformative climate action, is still lacking. It states that the World Bank intends to contribute to closing this knowledge gap through a forthcoming report on the societal dimensions of transformative climate action.