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What is "Just Transition"?

Just Transitions: Focusing on South Africa and India

This podcast explores CoP26 agenda and key priorities for a just transition away from coal in two coal dependent emerging economies: India and South Africa.


Chandra Bhushan with iFOREST and Jesse Burton with the University of Cape Town join Sandeep Pai (CSIS) to look at how key themes of just transitions are important in the context of CoP26 meetings.  They then discuss the key priorities on the ground for a just transition away from coal in the major economies of South Africa and India.

Just Transitions: Economic Diversification for Coal Dependent regions

This podcast looks at various opportunities and challenges for coal dependent regions in India and South Africa to create just and sustainable pathways to diversify their economies.


Gaylor Montmasson-Clair with Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and Srestha Banerjee with iForest join Sandeep Pai (CSIS) to explore the opportunities and challenges for coal dependent regions in India and South Africa to create just and sustainable pathways to diversify their economies.

Solar has greater techno-economic resource suitability than wind for replacing coal mining jobs

The article uses spatial analysis to explore the potential of renewable energy jobs directly replacing local jobs lost in the coal sector, with a focus on four major coal-producing countries, namely China, India, Australia, and the United States.


With a focus on China, India, the United States, and Australia, the article uses spatial analysis to identify the local solar and wind capacities required for each coal mining area to enable all coal miners to transition to solar/wind jobs. It also assesses the resource availability in these areas and the scale of the deployment of renewables needed to transition coal miners in areas suitable for solar/wind power. The article suggests that the potential to create local jobs is crucial to a just and effective transition. Unlike other professional workers who migrate to find new jobs when they are laid off, most coal miners become “inactive” when they lose their jobs because of their strong connections to their communities, age, or skills.

The article finds that, with the exception of the U.S., several gigawatts (GWs) of solar or wind capacity would be required for each coal mining area to transition all coal miners to solar/wind jobs. In all four countries, only a small percent of coal mining areas have suitable wind resources. Furthermore, these countries would have to scale up their current solar capacities significantly to be able to transition coal miners working in areas suitable for solar development. The report highlights the need for a localized understanding of labor impacts and shows how spatial methodology can be used to conduct similar assessments.

A Systemic Review of the Key Elements of a Just Transition for Fossil Fuel Workers

This paper identifies key elements of a just transition for fossil fuel workers and characterizes these elements according to a preexisting justice framework.


In recognition of the disparate definitions of a just transition, this paper synthesizes the scholarly literature to identify its various elements. Through their review, the authors also seek to identify the field’s theoretical and empirical knowledge gaps. They specifically focus on the effect of bold climate action on fossil-fuel workers and their communities.

The systemic literature review includes 33 articles from different academic fields. The literature tends to focus on coal workers (as opposed to other fossil fuel workers) in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries and is largely normative and descriptive. Collectively, these articles emphasize 17 key elements of a just transition. The authors briefly describe each of these elements and characterize them according to the Heffron and McCauley’s “JUST” framework of legal geography (i.e., distributional, procedural, restorative, recognition-based, and cosmopolitanism-based justices, as well as spatial scales and timeframe). They show how theoretical concepts such as forms of justice forms relate to specific strategies for just transitions.