This paper offers general principles and policy insights to help the international community equitably manage the social dimensions of a rapid transition away from fossil-fuel extraction.
Economic diversification/restructuring > Industry and/or sector assistance or plans
Employment > Job creation and/or equality, Skills, Social protections
Environment and/or pollution > Human health, Nature
Government intervention > Public finance, Regulation
Investment > Competitiveness, ESG and corporate engagement
Social and/or cultural impacts > Other
fossil fuel dependence
common but differentiated responsibilities
international climate politics
Greg Muttitt, Sivan Kartha
Academic/research institution or journal
This paper explores how to equitably manage the social dimensions of a rapid transition away from fossil-fuel extraction within international climate politics. It analyzes equity issues related to fossil-fuel extraction and efforts to curb it in accordance with climate targets. The authors examine three common equity approaches from the literature, from which they derive guiding principles and policy recommendations for managing this global challenge.
The authors review the distributional issues arising from the phaseout of fossil-fuel extraction and argue that meeting international climate targets will require a more strategic approach to accelerating transitions in both Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and non-OECD countries. They then examine the implications of fossil-fuel extraction for employment, public revenues, and energy provision, examining how extraction activities can be both a “blessing” and a “curse.”
The authors then discuss three equity frameworks that appear in the broader climate-policy literature: allocating carbon budgets based on economic efficiency, development needs, and “fair shares” of global transitional efforts. Drawing from this analysis, they propose five principles for managing concerns related to equity and climate change, touching on questions surrounding the cost and pace of transitions, as well as the distributional impacts at various levels of government. They conclude with policy suggestions for how to apply these principles in practice.
Brief/Case Study; Guidelines, Strategies and Recommendations
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.