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What is "Just Transition"?

The New Social Contract: A Just Transition

This report advocates a new social contract focused on building inclusive and clean regions through managed, fair, and just transitions throughout the European Union.


The authors advocate a departure from conventional climate policy, proposing instead a new social contract to build inclusive growth and support just transitions. The three pillars of this new social contract are rapid delivery of clean technologies as a source for sustainable growth and economic redevelopment, a just transition away from polluting industries, and shared management platforms to oversee these objectives. The authors examine three case studies of transitions in industrial and/or coal-based regions: North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany; the United Kingdom; and Bilbao, Spain.

Their review primarily focuses on models for managing a just transition at various levels of government, financing the process, and assuring key outcomes. Despite the differing contexts and approaches of these case studies, the authors identify shared lessons and general stages of a deep transition. They build on these findings to propose a policy architecture for a new social contract in the European Union consisting of four main elements: ownership, finance, management, and delivery. This integrated and effective policy approach could be institutionalized throughout Europe’s regional, national, and supranational governments to decarbonize effectively and to support and finance inclusive regional regeneration and investment.