April 26, 2024 2:10 pm

Local authority planning for a just transition: Why Western Balkan coal regions should create their own redevelopment plans and how it can be done

Nevena Smilevska, Just Transition Coordinator for Western Balkans, CEE Bankwatch Network

From December 2020 to December 2023, the European Union implemented its first Initiative for coal regions in transition in the Western Balkans and Ukraine – an initiative due to be followed up in 2024. During this first period, the differences in the Western Balkans countries’ just transition processes increased.

This publication aims to help prepare municipal authorities for the transition by enabling them to do the preparation work themselves, thus ensuring that the process will be participatory and just for their citizens. Local authorities need to identify their own needs and can use some of the tools that were used by European Union Member States, including Territorial Just Transition Plans.

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April 22, 2024 2:37 pm

Following the money: Poland

Miłosława Stępień, Alina Pogoda, Michiel Stapper

This briefing provides an overview of the just transition envisioned in the Polish Territorial Just Transition Plans for the four regions designated to receive money from the Just Transition Fund: Upper Silesia (including the allocation for Western Małopolska), Lower Silesia (Wałbrzych), the Łódź region (Bełchatów) and Eastern Wielkopolska. It scrutinises and evaluates the economic, employment-related, environmental and social aspects of the plans, and shows how the investments are to be divided among the respective policies for each of these areas. Unlike our previous briefings, this time we not only focus on the content of the Territorial Just Transition Plans themselves, but also on how the objectives described in the plans specifically translate into the allocation of funds. In short, we follow the money.

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April 10, 2024 2:36 pm

Following the money: Bulgaria

Dan Dobre, Ventzeslava Kojouharova, Michiel Stapper

This briefing provides an overview of the just transition envisioned in Bulgaria’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for the three regions designated to receive money from the Just Transition Fund: Stara Zagora, Pernik and Kyustendil. It scrutinises and evaluates the economic, environmental and social aspects of the plans and shows how the investments are to be divided among the respective policies for each of these areas. Unlike our previous briefings, this time we not only focus on the content of the Territorial Just Transition Plans themselves, but also on how the objectives described in the plans specifically translate into the allocation of funds. In short, we follow the money. 

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February 29, 2024 2:19 pm

Navigating the just transition: A manual for effective capacity-building events

Miłosława Stępień, Joanna Jakubowska (CEE Bankwatch Network)

The manual provides an easy-to-use and concise overview of the key elements involved in organising capacity-building events in just transition regions. It addresses the common questions that organisers are likely to ask when planning their own event. It also includes practical checklists that can be used to organise capacity-building events. 

This manual is based on the experiences of CEE Bankwatch Network member groups in organising events in just transition regions. 

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January 22, 2024 2:51 pm

Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition for Western Balkans and Ukraine: where we are and how to move forward

Nevena Smilevska, Just Transition Coordinator for Western Balkans, CEE Bankwatch Network

The Initiative for Coal Regions in Transition for Western Balkans and Ukraine platform builds on the experiences of the EU Initiative for coal regions in transition since 2017, with both initiatives contributing to implementing the European Green Deal. It was launched in December 2020 with the aim of helping countries and regions to move away from coal towards a carbon-neutral economy, while ensuring that this transition is just. It supports 17 regions in six countries neighbouring the European Union: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine.  

The aim of this briefing is to assess the effectiveness of the platform and offer recommendations for improvements for the next period. It is primarily aimed at the principals of the platform. 

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December 22, 2023 11:49 am

Following the money: Hungary

Dan Dobre, Alexa Botar, Michiel Stapper

This briefing provides an overview of the just transition envisioned in Hungary’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for the three regions designated to receive money from the Just Transition Fund  Baranya, Heves, and Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén. It scrutinises and evaluates the economic, environmental and social aspects of the plan, and shows how the investments are to be divided among the respective policies. The focus is on tracking fund allocation to understand how the plan’s objectives are translated into financial distribution. 

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December 22, 2023 11:46 am

Following the money: Estonia

Dan Dobre, Maris Pedaja, Michiel Stapper

This briefing provides an overview of the just transition envisioned in Estonia’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for the region designated to receive money from the Just Transition Fund: Ida–Virumaa. It scrutinises and evaluates the economic, environmental and social aspects of the plan, and shows how the various investments are to be divided among the respective policies for each of these areas. The focus is on tracking fund allocation to understand how the plan’s objectives are translated into financial distribution. 

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December 22, 2023 11:44 am

Following the money: Latvia

Miłosława Stępień, Maksis Apinis, Michiel Stapper

This briefing provides an overview of the just transition envisioned in Latvia’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for the four regions designated to receive money from the Just Transition Fund: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale and Zemgale. It scrutinises and evaluates the economic, environmental and social aspects of the plan, and shows how the various investments are to be divided among the respective policies for each of these areas. The focus is on tracking fund allocation to understand how the plan’s objectives are translated into financial distribution. 

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December 19, 2023 11:50 am

Following the money: Romania

Dan Dobre, Eliza Barnea, Michiel Stapper

This briefing describes the just transition outlined in Romania’s Territorial Just Transition Plans for six designated regions receiving money from the Just Transition Fund – Hunedoara, Gorj, Dolj, Galați, Prahova and Mureș.  

The analysis assesses the economic, environmental, and social aspects of the plan, emphasising the allocation of investments among economic, environmental, and social policies. The focus of this briefing is on tracking these allocations to understand how the plan’s objectives are translated into the distribution of financing. 

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December 18, 2023 11:53 am

Following the money: Slovakia

Miłosława Stępień, Lenka Ilčíková, Michiel Stapper

This briefing discusses Slovakia’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for three designated regions receiving money from the Just Transition Fund – Upper Nitra, Košický and Banskobystrický. The analysis focuses on the plan’s economic, environmental, and social aspects, emphasising how investments are allocated among employment, environmental and social policies.

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December 18, 2023 11:52 am

Following the money: Czech Republic

Miłosława Stępień, Zuzana Vondrova, Michiel Stapper

This briefing explores the Czech Republic’s Territorial Just Transition Plan for three designated regions receiving money from the Just Transition Fund – Ústecký, Moravskoslezský, and Karlovarský. The analysis delves into the economic, environmental, and social aspects of the plan, emphasising the allocation of investments among employment, environmental, and social policies. The focus is on tracking these allocations to understand how the plan’s objectives are translated into the distribution of financing.

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November 27, 2023 6:02 pm

The State of Youth Engagement in the Process of Just Transition in the Western Balkans

Generation Climate Europe, CEE Bankwatch Network

In 2018 the European Green Deal laid the foundation for a large-scale energy transition away from fossil-based energy carriers and towards renewable energy solutions. Two years later the Western Balkan governments signed the Sofia Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans as a concrete plan to expand the European Green Deal to the region. A key component of the energy transition is ensuring that no one is left behind by providing strategic, case-specific support to the regions and people most adversely affected.

The success of the just transition depends on the widespread engagement of all stakeholders, particularly the next generation that will shape the future of post-coal regions. Young people must therefore be engaged in every stage of the energy transition- from agenda setting to implementation and monitoring.

To explore the extent of youth involvement in the design of the just transition in the five Western Balkan states (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia), GCE reached out to civil society and youth representatives from the region, incorporating their perspectives.  Leveraging the local expertise of CEE Bankwatch Network, this briefing also provides an initial overview of the development of the just transition in each country.

The findings reveal that although all Western Balkan governments are taking steps to advance the energy transition, there are notable differences in progress across the countries. Unfortunately, youth engagement in the just transition is still in its infancy in all examined countries, with no clear evidence of meaningful youth involvement in state-led consultation formats. There is ample room for improvement, and we bring forward some clear recommendations to strengthen youth engagement in the ‘just’ transition of the region.

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November 24, 2023 3:37 pm

Social Climate Fund – unlocking the potential for a socially just transition

Joanna Jakubowska

One of the key initiatives of the Fit for 55 package (part of the European Green Deal) is the expansion of the Emissions Trading System to cover previously unregulated sectors, including building and transport. To mitigate potential adverse effects on vulnerable households and businesses, the package also introduces the new Social Climate Fund, which should serve as a compensatory mechanism.

This briefing summarises the most important aspects of the regulation that establishes the Social Climate Fund. It demonstrates how EU Member States can use it effectively to support the most vulnerable low-income groups and to mitigate any possible negative impacts of new climate policies. It also looks at potential synergies with already existing funds, e.g. the Cohesion Fund and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Since 2020, the European Union has made visible progress in revising existing legislative files and introducing new ones that are crucial to the EU’s climate goals. Yet, a fully successful decarbonisation cannot be achieved without a strong social dimension. If the societal consequences of the transition are not considered and proactively addressed, we risk perpetuating or even deepening pre-existing inequalities and excluding the most vulnerable members of society from the transition.

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October 10, 2023 8:26 am

Guidelines for selecting just transition projects

The Just Transition Fund Regulation sets overarching guidelines and principles that just transition projects are expected to meet and identifies potential areas for project funding. However, it does not provide nearly enough detail.

To fill this gap, we have compiled a list of selection criteria and project types that public authorities can use as guidelines when selecting just transition and green economy projects. As these projects can involve a variety of stakeholders, we also provide guidelines for stakeholder engagement at the planning level and when monitoring the progress of these projects.

The criteria are categorised according to types of environmentally and socially sustainable projects that can be supported under the JTF Regulation, project feasibility and maturity, and stakeholder engagement criteria.

This guide is intended to help local decision-makers select projects aimed at achieving a sustainable energy transition in a diverse, objective and fair manner. It is hoped that it will raise the level of ambition for sustainable solutions in the regions and enable funds to be spent in a way that is consistent with the just transition goals.

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September 28, 2023 9:24 am

Planning for social justice in Territorial Just Transition Plans in central and eastern Europe. September 2023 update – part II

This briefing’s main objective is to provide an analysis of how the Territorial Just Transition Plans for seven countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) approach social issues related to the impacts of the transition on women, youth and various other vulnerable groups.

It provides a short overview of the Just Transition Mechanism and discusses how social issues are approached in relevant legislation, primarily in the Just Transition Fund Regulation. It also conducts an overview of how the problems of the identified additional social groups we consider relevant to the just transition process have or have not been addressed in different countries’ Territorial Just Transition Plans. It also offers a summary of the current situation and our recommendations for addressing the identified issues.

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September 26, 2023 9:31 am

Mapping the road to a just transition in central and eastern Europe: an analysis of Territorial Just Transition Plans in 7 countries. September 2023 update – part I

All countries who have had their Territorial Just Transition Plans approved have now entered the implementation phase, which means that potential investors are able to apply for funding under all three mechanisms. Additionally, European funds monitoring committees are being established alongside the development of project pipelines.

Following the brief introduction to the Just Transition Mechanism, this briefing provides an analysis of the approved Territorial Just Transition Plans and identifies what these countries actually intend to do to alleviate the impacts of the transition to carbon neutrality. It also outlines a summary and recommendations related to the analysis conducted.

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July 25, 2023 11:05 am

Renewable energy permitting in Bosnia and Herzegovina: how to optimise the process while safeguarding the environment and public participation

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) undoubtedly has significant potential to develop environmentally acceptable forms of renewable energy. Likewise, considering that its coal plants are rapidly ageing, there is a pressing need for investments in wind and solar projects in particular. To ensure that social consensus is reached on the locations, types and construction methods of renewable energy installations, robust implementation of the Aarhus Convention, which guarantees public access to environmental information and public participation in decision-making on environmental matters regarding individual projects, plans, programmes and legislation, is necessary.

This analysis begins with an overview of the permits required for building renewable energy facilities in the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republika Srpska (RS). For each entity, we summarise the permitting process for larger facilities, particularly hydropower plants and wind plants, as well as the steps involved in permitting small solar installations. Finally, we provide recommendations to improve the processes for all projects in each entity. These recommendations are intended not only to eliminate needless and time-consuming practices, but also to advance the transposition and implementation of EU legislation on environmental protection and public participation.

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June 19, 2023 2:11 pm

Improving territorial justice: Transparency, inclusiveness, capacity building and strategy in the Territorial Just Transition Plans


The EU has set the goal of achieving a just transition in which no one gets left behind. To achieve this objective, member states have created Territorial Just Transition Plans, which lay out the transition processes in regions that need support during the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. This policy brief showcases the lessons learnt from the TJTP process that can and should further inform and improve other ongoing and future transition processes. It does so by exploring four key areas of interest that are crucial in ensuring effective transition processes, as well as procedural and distributive justice: transparency; inclusiveness; capacity building; and strategy.

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March 14, 2023 11:40 am

The second and third pillars of the Just Transition Mechanism

The Just Transition Mechanism will provide funding to countries and regions expected to be particularly negatively affected by the transition away from fossil fuels as part of the European Green Deal. The Just Transition Mechanism consists of three separate pillars: the Just Transition Fund, the InvestEU Just Transition Scheme and a new public sector loan facility operated by the European Investment Bank (EIB). This briefing takes stock of all three pillars, but in particular focuses on the second and third, aiming to identify key differences between the pillars and their strengths and weaknesses. In addition to providing key information on the pillars, the briefing also identifies possible threats and issues related to their management, including transparency, stakeholder consultation, and projects that may increase greenhouse gas emissions. The briefing concludes with policy recommendations.

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February 22, 2023 12:12 pm

Assessment of Latvia’s Territorial Just Transition Plan

Latvia’s just transition regions – Latgale, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Kurzeme – are supposed to stop extracting and using peat for energy. Instead, with the help of EU funding allocated to various measures and projects through a Territorial Just Transition Plan (TJTP), they will find alternative sources of energy and ensure society is supported throughout the process. Yet energy is just one use of peat, and a small one – in terms of both quantity and emissions – at that. Through Latvia’s just transition, much more could be done to ensure benefits for the climate and society.

This briefing summarises just transition planning in Latvia thus far, reviewing the TJTP’s compatibility with EU requirements and the overall process’s alignment with the partnership principle. It provides recommendations for improving just transition in the upcoming period.

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January 27, 2023 9:39 am

What is the current state of the just transition processes in Bulgaria?

As of January 2023, Bulgaria remains the only country that has not yet formally submitted its Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) to the European Commission. The draft TJTPs, which focus on the three coal regions in the country – Stara Zagora, Pernik and Kyustendil, were sent for comments to the European Commission in autumn 2022. Yet because they have not been approved, Bulgaria has lost its just transition funding for 2022.

This briefing summarises just transition planning in Bulgaria thus far, reviewing the TJTPs’ compatibility with EU requirements and the overall process’s alignment with the partnership principle. It provides recommendations for improving just transition in the upcoming period.

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January 3, 2023 9:56 am

Gone with the coal: Eastern Wielkopolska in search of new energy

Przemysław Sadura (University of Warsaw)
The publication provides an insight into an unusual history of a Polish region that seeks answers to a question: what next after coal? It is also a story of an extraordinary mobilisation of local community that decided to face the challenge of transition and reinvent itself. And that requires exceptional determination, courage and vision.
The report was written by Przemysław Sadura, a researcher and a professor at the University of Warsaw. The author provides an abundance of quotes from his interlocutors: miners, entrepreneurs, inhabitants and representatives of municipalities authorities and civil society organisations with whom he spent hours talking about just transition. The author also produced a set of recommendations for regions undergoing the coal phase-out process.
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December 14, 2022 9:37 am

The Modernisation Fund in central and eastern Europe

This briefing gives insights into the Modernisation Fund, a funding programme to support 10 lower-income EU Member States in their transition to climate neutrality by modernising their energy systems and improving energy efficiency. This briefing provides an overview of how the four largest beneficiary countries of the Modernisation Fund (the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia) set up different legal and institutional structures to organise their governance of the funding.

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December 7, 2022 12:53 pm

The Western Balkan power sector: between crisis and transition

As energy transition in the Western Balkans slowly proceeds, energy crisis has hit the region on four fronts: electricity prices, technical problems at coal plants, lack of water for hydropower, and skyrocketing biomass prices. This crisis is both a serious threat to the transition and an opportunity. Yet many of these countries still benefit from exporting coal-based electricity to the EU, and can now rake in more income than ever, even if it comes at the expense of public health. However, this cannot continue for many more years as the operation of the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) or a national or regional carbon pricing system to avoid CBAM is guaranteed to further raise coal-based electricity production costs.

According to the Commission’s proposal, the EU is going to start imposing charges on electricity imports in 2026, with higher impacts on countries with higher exports, higher emissions and a higher percentage of fossil fuels used in electricity generation. If the countries are to avoid being hit by CBAM, planning a just transition and introducing carbon pricing is more important than ever. Revenue from CBAM will be used for the EU budget, whereas domestic carbon pricing can directly contribute to energy transition in the countries. In fact, with a moderate carbon price of EUR 50 per tonne, the countries could collect a total of around EUR 2.8 billion annually to spend on a just and sustainable energy transition.

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November 17, 2022 1:33 pm

Heating from renewable and alternative energy sources for the city of Motru. Solutions and recommendations.

The study Heating from renewable and alternative energy sources for the city of Motru. Solutions and recommendations. identifies and analyses sustainable heating solutions for the city of Motru, located in Gorj County, Romania. It assesses the current state of district heating in the city (which is based on lignite coal), including demand and energy performance, and estimates the potential for using locally-produced renewable sources instead of lignite.

The study finds that with the correct combination of technologies, Motru can supply 100 per cent of its heat from renewable sources, all year round. Of the different alternative scenarios for heating the city, one which includes heat pumps and solar panels is the most viable, easiest to manage, and most reliable in terms of continuity and safety of supply.

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October 7, 2022 8:56 am

Status of the Territorial Just Transition Plans in central and eastern Europe: October 2022 update

The briefing, the sixth in our series on the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs), provides an overview of the progress on TJTPs in seven CEE countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. It focuses on the negotiation of the plans, institutional developments and monitoring committees. Its main finding is that all seven countries have made progress and look set to start implementation over the coming months. 

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October 6, 2022 11:10 am

Second edition: The state of youth engagement in the implementation of the EU Just Transition Mechanism

Young people aged 16-29 have a central role to play in developing TJTPs and the visions these plans outline – a role recognised and actively promoted by the EU itself. However, the past reports from Bankwatch on the state of TJTPs have revealed that the partnership principle has been applied in very different ways across and within the EU Member States, with several regions in which civil society representatives have not been engaged. This poses the serious risk that even young people in those communities will not have a say in the decisions impacting their future and career opportunities.

This report provides a first overview of the political youth engagement activities for developing Territorial Just Transition Plans of twelve EU Member States. For each country, we look at the partnership processes set up by the national and local authorities in preparing their TJTPs and identify, wherever they are present, the specific activities for the engagement of young people. For four countries, the information from institutional sources was complemented with interviews with local youth activists active in the just transition at the local level, whether they participated in the TJTPs writing directly or from outside.

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August 11, 2022 9:08 am

Female participation in the just transition process. Analysis of social and employment conditions of women in the Jiu Valley

In recent years, the need for gradual decarbonisation of the economy has also prompted discussions, strategies and plans for a just transition across Europe, including Romania. The closure of mines, one of the main components of phasing coal out from the economy, is however a reality that has been affecting communities in the Jiu Valley, where the economy is mainly based on a single industry, since 1997, with massive restructuring in the mining sector. The way in which the process was undertaken fell far short of the idea of a just transition, with a lack of advanced, rigorous planning, and measures tailored to the specifics of the area and the needs of the workers in the affected towns. The ways of intervention adopted so far, through economic and social protection measures, have been exclusively addressed to individuals who have worked in mines (mainly men). At the same time, current strategies, plans, and actions lack gender perspective when it comes to measures to be implemented in the following years. By assessing how the transition to decarbonisation has affected the lives of women in the mining area of the Jiu Valley, the report aims to highlight that efforts towards a just transition and those for gender equality can only go hand in hand.

The report is an exploratory research, documenting the quality of life of women in the Jiu Valley. It is based on a comprehensive approach, attempting to address all aspects of women’s lives in the valley, but it is not an exhaustive approach, as its scope cannot encompass all possible experiences. Specific to exploratory research, the methodology is qualitative.

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July 7, 2022 12:26 pm

How can we assist you?

Europe Beyond Coal, July 2022

What kinds of technical assistance do Just Transition regions actually need?

The transition of entire regions, and striving towards a sustainable, green and climate-neutral economy requires both a systemic approach aimed at providing comprehensive and overarching strategies, but also providing detailed, tailor-made and co-designed support for smaller stakeholders so that it really is a just transition, leaving no one behind.

It is a grand undertaking, meaning we need to constantly monitor and adapt to what issues occur on the ground, and also be innovative in how we approach the encountered problems. We, as NGOs working on the ground in the different Just Transition regions, have direct access to information about what is working and what is not, but do not have the capacity to answer all of the needs we identify, which is why we bring these issues also to your attention, in hopes we can find solutions together.

More than two years into the development of the Territorial Just Transition Plans, we continue to see gaps in adequate preparation for both the overall just transition process and for individual projects responding to particular challenges. Local stakeholders, among them local governments, are repeatedly doing what they can to prepare for the most effective use of Just Transition funds. But past experience may not be enough to meet the magnitude of the challenges posed by just transition.

The briefing identifies a number of measures that can help address these needs including:
  • The establishment of regional Just Transition Support Centres to provide information, support and assistance
  • Dedicated staff to support smaller stakeholders in developing good-quality projects.
  • Common methodologies and standards for monitoring and evaluating Just Transition processes.
  • Dedicated support to finalise plans urgently before the end of 2022.
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May 6, 2022 11:02 am

The state of youth engagement in the implementation of the EU Just Transition Mechanism

Young people aged 16-29 have a central role to play in just transition and the visions Territorial Just Transition Plans outline – a role that is recognised and actively promoted by the EU. However, Bankwatch’s previous reports on these plans have revealed that in several just transition regions, civil society has not been able to engage fully. This poses the serious risk that young people in those communities will not have a say in the decisions impacting their own future and career opportunities.

This report provides an overview of the political youth engagement activities for the development of Territorial Just Transition Plans of twelve EU Member States. For each country, we look at the partnership processes set up by the national and local authorities in preparation of their TJTPs and identify, wherever they are present, specific activities for the engagement of young people. For four countries, the information from institutional sources was complemented with interviews with local youth activists active on just transition at the local level.

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April 7, 2022 9:23 am

Just transition in 7 central and eastern European countries: what works and what does not

Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs) are a precondition for European Union Member States to access the Just Transition Fund, which the EU has put in place to support the socio-economic transformation of EU regions relying on fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries. Several central and eastern European countries have developed or are in the process of developing these plans. Given the multitude of actors involved, the complexity of choices, and the difficulty of the task ahead, the different just transition processes are not homogenous across Member States nor across regions within the same country.

The objective of this research is to assess what works and what does not in TJTP development, and why, to distil this information into lessons learned and key recommendations to further improve the quality of just transition processes in other European countries, and to promote best practices regarding the just transition process. This assessment develops an in depth-analysis of the quality of just transition processes, including the challenges and success factors, in seven CEE countries, namely Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

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March 1, 2022 3:16 pm

Status of the Territorial Just Transition Plans in central and eastern Europe: December 2021 update


This briefing, the fifth in our series on the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTPs), provides an overview of the general Territorial Just Transition Plan progress in seven CEE countries: Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. It also details the various levels of adherence to the European Union’s partnership principle in the plans; focuses on the compatibility of the different Territorial Just Transition Plans with the Commission’s recently published Staff Working Document on the Just Transition Plans; and provides recommendations resulting from the analyses provided.

An annex to this briefing containing data for Slovakia is also available.

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January 19, 2022 3:18 pm

Fourth generation district heating system in the Upper Nitra region

The goal of this study was to design a concept of the fourth generation district heating system for the Upper Nitra region using only renewable energy sources and seasonal heat accumulation. This concept should help to design the second phase of the district heating system solution following the first phase which should be in operation in heating season 2023/2024. The reason for elaborating of the second phase concept is that the first phase solution cannot be considered as a long-term solution since it uses fossil fuel and is based on non-optimised heat consumption.

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January 17, 2022 12:25 pm

Inclusive Energy Transition in Southeast Europe as an Opportunity

Miljenka Kuhar, Anja Vulinec and Marija Horvat - Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

An energy transition is gradually taking place in southeast Europe, but so far it has not been very planned, inclusive, or economically and environmentally sustainable. It has been driven more by EU legislation than intentional government decisions, leading to a lack of ownership and engagement.

This report (PDF) looks at how to move towards an inclusive energy transition in the region. It looks at four different aspects of public involvement, explaining these and the related EU policy context:

  • Just transition
  • Households as energy consumers and taxpayers
  •  Prosumers
  •  Public participation in decision-making on energy policy and infrastructure

It then takes a country-by-country look at nine southeast European countries and shows the potential for involving the broader public in the transition, giving recommendations both per country and overall.

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January 11, 2022 6:35 pm

A Just Transition Fund for the Western Balkan countries

Green Tank & CEE Bankwatch Network

The EU’s Just Transition Mechanism will mobilise more than EUR 100 billion in investments over the period from 2021 to 2027 to help countries shift their energy sources from fossil fuels to more sustainable ones. Part of this Mechanism is the Just Transition Fund, EUR 17.5 billion for citizens and workers in the regions impacted the most by this economic transformation. The Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) will also be affected by this transition; however, there is currently no fund established to help them end their reliance on coal and address the social and economic impacts of such a change. It is of utmost importance to design, as early as possible, a Just Transition Fund for the Western Balkans.

This report aims to design a fair allocation method for such a Fund, taking into account the magnitude and urgency of the transition challenge for each of the six countries in the region. It provides projected allocations based on different coal phase-out scenarios and offers recommendations for decision makers in the Western Balkans and European Commission.

A joint Green Tank and CEE Bankwatch Network publication (January 2022).

Download the full report here

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October 14, 2021 3:51 pm

Analysis for the alternative economic development of coal areas

Za Zemiata

The purpose of the analysis is to assess the opportunities for the alternative economic development of the coal regions in Bulgaria, which will contribute to a sustainable development. The alternative economic development for these regions is linked to the development of clean energy technologies, preserving Bulgaria’s energy base in the light of the European Union’s “Green Pact” and the subsequent goals of sustainable green and digital transitions, the EU’s transition to Industry 4.0 as well as the need forrecoveryof the country from the perplexed and unreasonable actions provided by the government in the field of energy over the last 20 years. 

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October 14, 2021 3:50 pm

Report on energy poverty issues, possible solutions

Za Zemiata

 The analysis titled:  “Energy poverty, possible solutions” offers exceptional depth and knowledge of the problem at the EU and national level. It offers appropriate and realistic solutions to this huge social problem. The analysis will be provided also to the ministries for wider perspective and options on the measures to sustainably reduce the number of people receiving energy subsidies. 

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October 14, 2021 3:50 pm

Comparative analysis of the advantages of decentralized energy production

Za Zemiata

The purpose of the comparative analysis on the advantages of decentralized energy production, is to determine the energy production from nuclear power plants,  thermal power plants for coal and gas and hydropower plants for dams.  

The analysis is developed in the context of: 

  • political and economic debates and decisions within the EU onThe Green Pact and post-pandemic recovery, the EU’s climate goals andnew legislation in this direction (incl. Fit to 55); 
  • the Bulgarian debate on energy transition and new energy policy as part ofEU climate and energy policies and in particular the Bulgarian resistanceagainst these policies (including the recent vote of the abstention)for Fit to 55). 
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October 14, 2021 3:49 pm

Analysis of the possibilities for green hydrogen production in Bulgaria and its use for energy needs

Za Zemiata

The purpose of the analysis is to objectively examine the production of the potential green hydrogen in Bulgaria and the need for investment in this direction, following the policies of the European Commission and using possible public and private sources of funding.  

The analysis presents ongoing projects and pays special attention to its application in the mobility sector, where a level of technological maturity has been achieved. 


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April 1, 2021 11:29 am

Lessons learned from the co-creation of the energy part of the Ida-Virumaa Green Plan

The objective of the project was to provide input for the energy part of the Ida-Virumaa
Green Plan. The client requested to see how a co-creation based approach could be
effective and create the basis for a successful transition to a climate-neutral economy.
This way of thinking is based on transition studies1, which describe them as non-linear
cross-societal processes in which bottom-up innovation, experimentation, learning and
networking have a central role. Management of change in complex systems requires
cooperation between different parties and intelligent testing. Therefore, a process that
has an experimental and practical purpose that involves the parties and enforces their
participation in the implementation of the solutions is very well suited to enhancing the
ambitions related to fair transition.

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March 18, 2021 10:40 am

EU coal, peat and oil shale regions: updated analysis of the challenges ahead

Joint Research Centre

A new JRC study maps the challenges of the energy transition for the EU coal, peat and oil shale regions.

According to the two scenarios considered, – the NECPs and the ENTSO-E Ten-Year Network Development Plans (TYNDP)-, the potential job losses in coal-fired power plants and mines in the next decade are likely to range from 54,000 to 112,000, out of a total of 208,000 current direct jobs.

At the same time, the wide-scale deployment of renewable energy and other low-carbon energy technologies can provide between 106,681 and 314,416 jobs in the affected regions, as outlined in the 2020 report on clean energy technologies in the coal regions.

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February 23, 2021 12:17 pm

Thermal depolymerisation study summary,

CEE Bankwatch Network, Priatelia Zeme - CEPA Slovakia

As part of the just transition of the Upper Nitra region in Slovakia, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic for Investments and Informatisation has collected project concept notes since 2018. One of the projects, proposed by HUTIRA Slovakia, Ltd., would secure funding for the ‘thermochemical processing’ of tyres in the region. This briefing provides a summary of an independent assessment of the thermal depolymerisation technology proposed by HUTIRA Slovakia, Ltd. in 2015 and 2016 for a similar project. It covers toxic substances, the availability of secondary raw material, sustainable alternatives, greenhouse gas emissions and other aspects. Its conclusions indicate that thermal depolymerisation projects should not be part of Upper Nitra’s just transition.

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February 2, 2021 1:58 pm

Saying adiós to coal. Lessons on just transition from Spain

IIDMA, Europe Beyond Coal

For decades, coal has been one of the main sources of electricity production in Spain. In fact, power generation data from the Spanish transmission system operator (Red Eléctrica de España) shows that until 2018 it was among the three largest sources of electricity production at national level. Although the majority of the coal burnt was imported from Colombia, Russia and South Africa, domestic coal, predominantly sourced from mines located in the north of Spain, in the autonomous communities of Aragón, Asturias and Castilla y León, also played a significant role. Despite the historical weight of the coal sector in Spain, it has experienced a massive decline over the last year and a half. Whilst a large majority of coal mines closed by the end of 2018, more than half of installed coal capacity closed at the end of June 2020, and it is expected that the last coal power plant will shut no later than 2025.


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October 20, 2020 1:52 pm


Rebekka Popp, Felix Heilmann (E3G)

Doba uhelná se v Evropě chýlí ke konci. Rozhodnutí Německa (druhé největší uhelné země
v EU) opustit výrobu energie z uhlí a jeho těžbu je součástí tohoto trendu a vysílá důležitý
signál pro celý svět. Německé řešení odstavení uhelných kapacit sice dotčeným regionům
poskytuje podporu pro překonání přechodné fáze, má ale zároveň mnoho slabých míst.
Ostatní země, ve kterých proces vyjednávání odklonu od uhlí probíhá, by si měly dát
pozor, aby tyto chyby neopakovaly. Následujících devět ponaučení z německých
zkušeností proto může sloužit zdroj inspirace pro ostatní…

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September 30, 2020 4:22 pm

Briefing: Green recovery of the Slovak just transition region

This briefing by Friends of the Earth-CEPA and Bankwatch summarises the sustainable energy measures that should be taken for the transformation of Upper Nitra region in the Trenčín administrative area, Slovakia. These measures have the potential to reduce the outflow of money from the region, create jobs and make Upper Nitra a model region for just transition.

Read the briefing here: Green Recovery Slovakia.

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September 29, 2020 12:11 pm

Just Transition: History, Developments and Challenges in Greece and Europe

The Green Tank, July 2020

The course of the energy mix in Greece and Europe shows that the era of lignite and coal is over.
The big issue now is for this irreversible energy transition to climate neutrality to take place in a just way for those communities that for decades have sacrificed their own quality of life in order to support the development of the European economy.

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July 20, 2020 9:17 pm

Eight steps for a just transition

Alexandru Mustata, Bankwatch Romania. 2017.

Just transition is a development model based on locally designed public policies to create the context for a fair income and a decent life for all workers and communities affected by pollution reduction measures. This guide offers some pointers for initiating a just transition process, including:

  • understanding the concept,
  • choosing an area,
  • knowing the potential,
  • decision-maker agreement,
  • community consultation,
  • success stories,
  • support from the centre,
  • identifying financial instruments.
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July 20, 2020 9:16 pm

Reflection on Strategic Options for Post-Mining Development in Central Europe. Post-Mining, transition, diversification (book)

Peter Wirth, Barbara Černič Mali, Wolfgang Fischer (Editors). 2012

This book looks at several post-mining regions in Western and Eastern Europe, including the Steirische Eisenstraße (Styrian Iron Route) in Austria, the Czech lignite region Sokolov-východ, the Mansfeld-Südharz copper region and the Zwickau-Oelsnitz coal region in Germany, the brown coal region of Salgótarján in Hungary, and the Zasavje coal region in Slovenia.

The text has a very wide scope, from systematising knowledge on post-mining transition, to presenting the regions taken up for discussion, introducing good practice cases from Central and Eastern Europe, discussing the regions’ ‘natural potential’ and ‘cultural potential’ and how to integrate them, and discussing the prospects and possibilities of the post-mining regions.

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July 20, 2020 9:13 pm

Lessons from previous ‘coal transitions’. (report)

Climate Strategies, IDDRI. 2017.

The report provides a summary of lessons from six historical case studies of regional coal mining transitions that have occurred or are ongoing in Europe and the United States in recent decades.

These case studies and this report were developed as part of a broader project led by IDDRI (the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) and Climate Strategies, entitled ‘Coal Transitions: Research and Dialogue on the Future of Coal’. This project seeks to utilise these historical lessons to facilitate the development of feasible coal transition scenarios in large coal producing countries today.

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July 20, 2020 9:12 pm

The new social contract: A Just Transition. (report)

Change Partnership & The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). 2016.

The authors examine three case studies of the coal and steel sectors from North Rhine Westphalia in Germany, the UK and Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain.These regional transitions are important because change will impact on these regions either directly through environmental catastrophe or evolving socio-economic models. Each story highlights marked differences in the approach, ownership and legacy of regional rejuvenation. Each region’s approach gives powerful insights on the need to realign EU, national and regional transition policy, the Multiannual Financial Framework, regional policy, the Covenant of Mayors, clean energy and climate policy to empower leaders. According to the authors, the key issues analysed are:

  • Models to organise change at a regional, national and EU level
  • Means to finance transition
  • How to ensure delivery of key outcomes.

Download as power point presentation.

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July 20, 2020 9:10 pm

Good Practice Guidelines: Boosting the regeneration process of Europe’s coalfield regions. (study)

A collection of good practices from mining regions engaging in Just Transition, compiled as part of the RECORE programme (“Regenerating Europe’s Coalfield regions”), an initiative of Euracom (European Coal-mining Association).

The study presents mining regions in seven countries (The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Russia and the Ukraine), followed by good practices from each of the regions presented. The examples of good practices are broken down by thematic categories including retraining of work force, foreign investments, environmental protection, cultural heritage etc. Contact persons for each of the cases highlighted as good practice are included.

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July 20, 2020 9:09 pm

Global Mining: It’s Not Over When It’s Over: Mine Closure around the World. (paper)

World Bank. 2002.

An overview of global mine closures from the World Bank, discussing main issues facing the regions where mines are closing, presenting a good practice case – the Sullivan mine in northwest Canada, and giving recommendations to the various actors involved.

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July 20, 2020 9:08 pm

Strengthening Just Transition Policies in International Climate Governance (paper)

Anabella Rosemberg (ITUC). The Stanley Foundation’s Policy Analysis Brief. 2017.

This policy analysis brief provides some context and history to the concept of just transition, elaborates on its key policies, and examines how it could be further incorporated into international climate change policy. It also aims at providing a stepping-stone for broader engagement by the climate community on this issue.

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July 20, 2020 9:08 pm

Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and the Just Transition: Integrating approaches for complementary outcomes (paper)

Philip Gass, Daniella Echeverria (IISD)

The report explores a number of reasons for a framework, including alignment of the objectives of FFSR and just transition and, very importantly, FFSR’s ability to unlock revenues for implementing just transition.

It goes into detail about the various ways in which FFSR can be consistent with just transition. The scale of current fossil fuel subsidies in the world coupled with the massive financial needs for transition are early indicators of the benefits of approaching FFSR with just transition in mind. Leveraging this misspent finance to support just transition is just one of many ways in which these issues can coalesce.

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July 20, 2020 9:04 pm

Climate change and labour: The need for a “just transition”

Anabella Rosemberg (ITUC). International Journal of Labour Research 2010 Vol. 2 Issue 2, p. 125-162, International Labour Office, Geneva, 2010.

Worldwide, trade unions have developed a point of view on the issue that is encapsulated by the concept of “Just Transition”, the notion that the transition process to a greener economy has to be inclusive of all stakeholders, and that the unavoidable employment and social costs of the transition have to be shared by all. Because one thing is sure: if the transition to a greener economy generates employment, it will also entail job losses for some.

It can be said that the notion of Just Transition is in line with the longstanding philosophy that has inspired the creation and the history of the International Labour Organization: the idea that social concerns have to be part and parcel of economic decision-making, that the costs of economic transition should be socialized as much as possible, and that the economic management of the economy is best achieved when there is genuine social dialogue between social partners. The last contribution to this issue documents how ILO standards can support the development of a Just Transition approach; it also opens an interesting window for a greater role for the ILO in defining the policies needed to deal with climate change.

We thus hope this issue will prove useful to trade unions and further stimulate discussions about how they can play a constructive role in the policy-making around the question of climate change.

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July 20, 2020 9:02 pm

“Just Transition” – Just What Is It? (US focus)

Labour Network for Sustainability. Strategic Practice.

The “just transition” frame is being used by an increasing number of organizing networks, grassroots organizations, groups affiliated with organized labor, and environmental organizations. This report aims to assess the notion of just transition, how it is being used, what kinds of ideas and approaches are surfacing for short and long-term strategies, and what kinds of relationships groups are developing in pursuit of a just transition. Its purpose is to open a broad and respectful discussion about the varied ways the “just transition” frame is being used, and whether they can contribute to a shared vision of how to make the transition we face a just transition.

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July 20, 2020 9:01 pm

Global labour unions and just transition to a green economy (int’l unions focus)

Dimitris Stevis, Romain Felli. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics. 2015.

Questions of justice in the transition to a green economy have been raised by various social forces. Very few proposals, however, have been as focused and developed as the “just transition” strategy proposed by global labour unions. Yet, labour unions are remarkably absent from discussions of the transition towards a green economy. This is surprising as labour unions are arguably the largest organizations in the world fighting for basic rights and more just social relations. This paper tries to advance the potential contribution of labour unions in this arena by asking: what is the full scope of “just transition” today and how have labour unions developed and refined it over the years to render the move towards a green economy both environmentally and socially sustainable? The concept of just transition is hotly debated within labour unions and has different interpretations, and hence different strategies. The last section assesses these interpretations by means of a normative framework, which seeks to fuse political economy and political ecology. Empirically, we add to the growing literature on labour environmentalism, as well as transitions more generally. Analytically, our goal is to place the various approaches to a “just transition” within a heuristic framework of environmental justice that is explicit about power relations when demanding justice, two themes central to this special issue.

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July 20, 2020 9:00 pm

The political economy of just transition.

Peter Newell. Dustin Mulvaney. The Geographical Journal. 2013.

This paper explores the political economy of the ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy. The idea of a ‘just transition’ increasingly features in policy and political discourse and appeals to the need to ensure that efforts to steer society towards a lower carbon future are underpinned by attention to issues of equity and justice: to those currently without access to reliable energy supplies and living in energy poverty and to those whose livelihoods are affected by and dependent on a fossil fuel economy. To complicate things further this transition has to be made compatible with the pursuit of ‘climate justice’ to current and future generations exposed to the social and ecological disruptions produced by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Here we seek to identify and analyse the immensely difficult political trade-offs that will characterise collective attempts to enact and realise a just transition. We explore procedural and distributional aspects of energy politics and practice in particular as they relate to the just transition: energy access for those who do not have it; justice for those who work within and are affected by the fossil fuel economy; and attempts to manage the potential contradictions that might flow from pursuing energy and climate justice simultaneously.

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July 20, 2020 8:59 pm

Alternative visions of a ‘just transition’ from fossil fuel capitalism

Jacklyn Cock. Rosa Luxemburg Shtiftung South Africa. 2015.

This paper argues that confronting the deepening ecological crisis in a just transition could contain the embryo of a democratic eco-socialist future. The core of eco-socialism is to link the principles of ecological sustainability and social justice. This implies that the socialist emphasis on collective ownership and democratic control of production needs to be connected to a number of other alternative concepts such as food sovereignty. New social forms are emerging from the margins of South African society around these concepts, involving grass-root networks marked by relations of reciprocity, cooperation and solidarity. They embody fragments of a vision of an alternative postcapitalist future.

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July 20, 2020 8:58 pm

What is the ‘Just Transition’?

Raphael Heffron, Darren McCauley. Geoforum. January 2018.

The ‘just transition’ is a concept receiving more attention in the literature to-date. This critical review discusses this and how there are overlaps with literature on energy, environmental and climate justice. Within the separate energy, environment and climate change scholar communities, there is too much distortion of what the ‘transition’ means and what ‘justice’ means, and they all should be understood within the just transition concept. To increase public understanding and public acceptance of a just transition, these research communities need to unite rather than continue alone.

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July 20, 2020 8:58 pm

Investing in a Just Transition

Initiative for Responsible Investment (2018)

This discussion paper explores why investors should contribute to the ‘just transition’ as the world’s economy decarbonises, and how they can do so. It is the first output of the Investing in a Just Transition project, co-designed by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Initiative for Responsible Investment.

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July 20, 2020 8:57 pm

Implementing Coal Transitions: Insights from case studies of major coal-consuming economies

Coal Transitions Project. 2018.

This report summarises the main insights from Coal Transitions research project. Firstly, it outlines the growing momentum behind coal transitions around the world, due to economic, technological and policy factors. Secondly, the report highlights key findings from case studies of six major coal-consuming countries (China, India, Poland, Germany, Australia and South Africa), which explore how “below-2°C”-compatible transitions away from thermal coal could be implemented. The report notes that, with the right policies, coal transitions that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement can be done in an economically affordable and socially acceptable way down.

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July 20, 2020 8:56 pm

Towards a just and equitable low-carbon energy transition

Ajay Ghambir, Fergus Green, Peter J G Pearson, Gratham Institute Briefing Paper No 26, August 2018

A range of measures such as near-term employment and wage protections, medium-term retraining and investment in alternative industries, and long-term education and innovation investment are central to ensuring protection and prosperity for people and communities.

It is therefore imperative that governments work closely with businesses, local communities and labour representatives to produce long-term visions of successful, just and equitable transitions around which all stakeholders’ voices are considered.

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July 20, 2020 8:55 pm

Transition Policy for Climate Change Mitigation: Who, What, Why and How?

Fergus Green. CCEP Working Paper. May 2018.

In the face of this increasing demand for “transition policy”, policymakers require expert guidance on how to develop coherent and desirable transition policy packages. Yet there is a dearth of policy-focused academic literature on this topic. This paper aims to provide a foundation for filling this gap. It first provides a definition of transition policy, identifying its key parameters. It then explores possible values of these parameters, resulting in an original map of the “logical space” of transition policy: the possible combinations of policy objectives, policy scope, and target actors that transition policy could encompass. To move from the possible to the desirable, the paper finally suggests three criteria for normatively evaluating transition policies: fairness; political transformation potential; and expected effectiveness. An appendix to the paper provides a literature overview of relevant works from multiple disciplines.

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July 20, 2020 8:53 pm

Industrial Regions and Climate Policies: Towards a Just Transition? (study)

European Trade Union Conderation (ETUC). 2016

The study by the European Trade Union Conderation (ETUC) includes a series of regional case studies: Yorkshire and the Humber (the UK), North Rhine Westphalia (Germany), Asturias (Spain), Antwerp area (Belgium), Norbotten (Sweden), Stara Zagora (Bulgaria), and Silesia (Poland). These regions have many similarities in terms of industrial heritage and current activity in their energy production and manufacturing industries. But they also each have their own characteristics due to national policy and history or geography. The study, written from the perspective of the trade union movement, attempts to anticipate future changes connected to the decarbonisation prescribed by European policy, conducting an analysis of the regional challenges and opportunities.

The study further presents information derived from a questionnaire about climate policies circulated to ETUC affiliates to get a sense of the debate on low-carbon industrial strategies, both at sub-national level and within the trade union movement, and also to identify possible best practices and experiences that may be shared.

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July 20, 2020 8:51 pm

Guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all.

International Labour Organisation (ILO). 2015.

ILO guidelines on just transition:

At its 102nd Session (2013), the International Labour Conference adopted a resolution and a set of conclusions, hereafter referred to as the conclusions, concerning sustainable development, decent work and green jobs putting forward a policy framework for a just transition. At its 321st Session (June 2014), the Governing Body of the ILO endorsed the proposal to hold a tripartite meeting of experts in 2015 as a follow-up to the Conference conclusions.

The guidelines (included in the document) as agreed by the Experts are meant to provide non-binding practical orientation to Governments and social partners with some specific options on how to formulate, implement and monitor the policy framework, in accordance with national circumstances and priorities.

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July 20, 2020 8:51 pm

A Just Transition for All: can the past inform the future? (journal issue)

International Journal of Labour Research. 2015.

The Bureau of Workers’ Activities (ILO-ACTRAV) published this issue of the International Journal of Labour Research (IJLR) which addresses “A just transition for all: Can the past inform the future?”.

In 2013, the 102nd Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2013 addressed these challenges and adopted Conclusions concerning achieving decent work, green jobs and sustainable development.

This issue of the Journal is a contribution to the follow up of that Conference, which called on the ILO to provide further guidance on these matters and particularly to the need for a just transition for all.

This Journal is focused on drawing the lessons from a few transition experiences in order to analyse how successfully (or not) these processes were managed in the past and how future transitions might be handled in a just manner. The articles all address one or several of the elements highlighted by the ILC Conclusions as part of the “just transition” framework, and provide a rationale and solid justification for the use of these policies in the transition towards sustainability.

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July 20, 2020 8:46 pm

Just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.

UNFCCC. 2016.

This paper presents the general concept of just transition, including the drivers and objectives of such transitions, and discusses the linkages between just transition and the impacts of the implementation of climate change mitigation policies. It also provides guidance on how to approach just transition at the national level. It provides an overview of the work undertaken under the Convention on a just transition of the workforce, and the creation of decent work and quality jobs.

July 20, 2020 8:45 pm

Getting it right. A Just Transition Strategy for Alberta’s Coal Workers.

Alberta Federation of Labour.

In 2016, the Alberta Federation of Labour began a just transition campaign ( ) on behalf of workers in the coal-fired electricity sector following an announcement that Alberta would phase out electricity generation from coal-fired generators by 2030. As part of their work they produced a report on just transition, which includes case studies and specific recommendations for Alberta from the perspective of the workers.

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July 20, 2020 8:43 pm

Resist, Reclaim, Restructure: Unions and the Struggle for Energy Democracy

Trade Unions for Energy Democracy. 2013.

A trade union strategy for energy democracy can be built around three broad objectives, namely the need to resist the agenda of the fossil fuels corporations; the need to reclaim to the public sphere parts of the energy economy that have been privatized or marketized; and the need to restructure the global energy system in order to massively scale up renewable energy and other safe low–carbon options, implement energy conservation, and ensure job–creation and true sustainability.

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July 20, 2020 8:42 pm

Involving trade unions in climate action to build a just transition

European Trade Union Confederation. May 2018.

The 48 page document ‘Involving trade unions in climate action to build a just transition’ contains:

  • Recommendations for economic diversification and industrial policy, skills, social protection and governance for a socially just transition
  • Information on how trade unions can and have been engaged in shaping national climate action
  • Examples of innovative projects that can inspire a more just transition
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July 20, 2020 8:41 pm

Restructuring Europe’s rustbelt: The Case of the German Ruhrgebiet. (paper)

Hospers, GJ. Intereconomics. 2004/39.

This article analyses the case of the German Ruhrgebiet. This region is perhaps Europe’s most well-known example of an old industrial area in which structural change has been occurring for about forty years.The article gives a rough sketch of the Ruhrgebiet and its economy, then goes on to study re-industrialisation strategies that have been pursued in the Ruhr as well as the associated problems caused by regional lock-in. This is followed by a look at the bottom-up approach of regional neo-industrialisation and an assessment of the restructuring efforts of the Ruhrgebiet and the area’s future. In the end, the authors draw a few lessons from the German case.

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July 20, 2020 8:40 pm

Instruments for a managed coal phaseout. German and international experiences with structural change.

E3G. 2016.

Germany will need to completely phase out coal-fired power generation in order to meet its climate targets. This is generally accepted, although the precise timeframe of a coal phase-out is still a matter of contentious debate. This is a particular problem for the remaining lignite mining regions in Germany, where coal industry typically provides a high share of local employment and added value. In these regions, the coal phase-out will lead to significant negative consequences. However, Germany possesses a wealth of experience in managing structural change.

This briefing evaluates these German and some selected international experiences in the context of a German coal phase-out, and reflects upon which policy instruments have proved successful in the past. Learning from the German experience is particularly relevant now, as the country is currently facing many tough questions that other countries will soon have to deal with in phasing out coal – particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe.

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July 20, 2020 8:40 pm

A Review of Industrial Restructuring in the Ruhr Valley and Relevant Points for China.

Institute for Industrial Productivity. 2015.

A comprehensive yet succint overview of the Ruhr valley post-coal transition, including timelines, main measures taken by various actors, the successive strategies tried out, and an analysis of what worked.

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July 20, 2020 8:39 pm

Eleven key points in favour of a consensus regarding coal. (Elf Eckpunkte für einen Kohlekonses. Konzept zur schrittweisen Dekarbonisierung des deutschen Stromsektors (Kurzfassung)).

Agora Energiewende. 2015. In German.

Seminal paper in the German debate on transitioning away from coal that does detailed modelling of the impact of various instruments used to phase out coal, and ends up by proposing a compromise – ‘the golden handshake’: creating a lignite fund, that means paying companies to create energy from lignite and put it into a reserve fund.

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July 20, 2020 8:38 pm

Life Beyond Coal (article)

by Emma Bryce for the Stanley Foundation

A journalistic overview of transition in the Ruhr region, with a few description of projects exemplifying how the transition went, a history of the region and basic statistics.

Read online
July 20, 2020 8:38 pm

A Socially Acceptable Exit from Coal Is Possible! (Sozialverträglicher Kohleausstieg ist machbar!)

Verdi. 2016.

German trade union Verdi argues in a study that it is possible to design the coal phaseout in a way that is socially acceptable.

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July 20, 2020 8:36 pm

Strategic Approaches to the Design of Structural Change in Lusatia (Strategische Ansätze für die Gestaltung des Strukturwandels in der Lausitz)

Wuppertal Institute. 2016. In German. Download pdf
July 20, 2020 8:36 pm

Vattenfal’s Chance. A future without coal for Lusatia. (Vattenfalls Chance Eine Zukunft für die Lausitz ohne Braunkohle)

Greenpeace Germany. 2015. In German. Download pdf
July 20, 2020 8:35 pm

Value-added and employment from renewables in Brandenburg in 2030 (Wertschöpfung und Beschäftigung durch Erneuerbare Energien in Brandenburg 2030)

Greenpeace Germany. 2012. In German.

Study on the financial and job benefits that an energy transition could bring to Germany’s lignite regions.

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July 20, 2020 8:34 pm

Value-added from energy transition in Lusatia and Rheine regions (Mehrwert einer regionalen Energiewende im Lausitzer und im Rheinischen Revier)

Greenpeace Germany. 2017. In German.

Study on the financial and job benefits that an energy transition could bring to Germany’s lignite regions.

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July 20, 2020 8:33 pm

Beyond Coal. Sustainable alternatives for the future of coalfield regions. Case Study: Alternative Development for Teruel Coalfield Region.

Greenpeace Spain. 2016.

The study is an overview of post-coal transition in the Spanish region of Teruel, made up of two parts, commissioned by Greenpeace Spain to two different institutions with different background and expertise: (1) The Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health (ISTAS), a self-managed trade union’s technical foundation supported by the Spanish Trade Union Confederation Comisiones Obreras (CCOO), studied the problem from a historical perspective. They reviewed the coal mining situation in Spain and Teruel, the legal framework, and the characteristics shared by coalfield regions. They also compile international examples of just and sustainable reconversions in coalfield regions, and draw conclusions from these proceses. (2) Abay Analistas specifically analyzed possible sustainable alternatives for Andorra’s mining region in Teruel. They reviewed the ongoing transition in the region, and analysed socioeconomic factors to propose possible economy diversifications.

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July 20, 2020 8:32 pm

Regional decline and restructuring in Ostrava Agglomeration and Katowice Conurbation. (paper)

Jan Suchacek. 2005

The paper is devoted to the comparison of restructuring in Ostrava agglomeration (Czech Republic) and Katowice conurbation (Poland). While in the case of Ostrava region this restructuring turned out to be far from perfect, in Katowice area, on the contrary, pessimistic scenario did not materialise.

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July 20, 2020 8:32 pm

The Transformation of the Polish Coal Sector (paper)

Aleksander Szpor, Konstancja Ziólkowska. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Global Subsidies Initiative, Institute for Structural Research, Climate Strategies. 2018.

This study considers the policies and strategies that were adopted to help manage the decline in employment. In particular, it focuses on two measures: the Mining Social Package and Special Privileges for Mining Communes. It assesses the success of each of these policies in mitigating the adverse social and economic impacts of the decline of the industry and considers their relevance to the challenges of coal phase out today.

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July 20, 2020 8:31 pm

European Lignite-Mining Regions in Transition. Challenges in the Czech Republic and Germany

Heirich Boll Stiftung Praha. 2018.

This report, which was commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Prague Office and Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany – DUH), in close collaboration with Glopolis and E3G – Third Generation Environmentalism, examines lignite mining regions in the Czech Republic and Germany. The report explores how these regions’ current development models can be transformed in an economically sustainable and socially just manner.

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July 20, 2020 8:31 pm

The practice of transition management: Examples and lessons from four distinct cases. The Netherlands. (paid article)

Derk Loorbach and Jan Rotmans. 2009.

The article presents four different cases of transition management in which the authors were involved over the past 10 years in The Netherlands, and it ends with drawing lessons and formulating research questions for the future.

Accsess article
July 20, 2020 8:30 pm

The transitions storyline in Dutch environmental policy. The Netherlands. (paid article)

Adrian Smith and Florian Kern. 2011.

In 2001 the Dutch government adopted a new policy in its Fourth National Environmental Policy Plan. Its transitions approach seeks radically more sustainable socio-technical systems, and represents an attempt to reinvigorate ecological modernisation. To explain the rise of this distinct policy storyline, a coalition of researchers and policy-makers forming the transition storyline is analysed. The interpretative flexibility of the storyline in relation to prevailing institutional priorities explains its success but also builds in limits by making subsequent institutionalisation susceptible to capture by incumbent interests, as illustrated by implementation in the energy sector.

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July 20, 2020 8:29 pm

The End of Coal Mining in South Wales: Lessons learned from industrial transformation

Travers Merrill and Lucy Kitson. IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development). 2017.

The report reviews the economic and political context of coal mining in South Wales, describing the origins of coal mining, its growth through the industrial revolution and into the inter-war period, its gradual but irreversible decline after the Second World War, and its eventual disappearance in the 1990s. It then examines the pronounced social and community consequences of mining and the closure of coalmines, drawing attention to the role of unionized labour and the role it played throughout the rise and fall of mining in Wales.

The overarching lesson from the Welsh experience is the powerful influence of global economic factors and the need to establish a critical mass of local skills and resilience to respond to both the closure of collieries and subsequent economic changes.

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July 20, 2020 8:28 pm

Jobs and the Low-Carbon Energy Transition: Perspectives from Cumberland County

Scott Vaughan. IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development). 2017.

Debate over Canada’s climate change policies has frequently centered on concerns over jobs and economic competitiveness. This is not surprising. Industries and governments have long worried that tougher pollution standards push up costs, flatten margins in tight markets and shed jobs. However, the debate today takes place in an environment of high anxiety over wages and job losses, and alarm over growing levels of inequality.

Against that backdrop, this commentary begins in Cumberland County, in Northwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, where new jobs are emerging in the renewable energy sector. It argues that the shifts underway in Cumberland County are representative of a larger, global transition, as job losses in the fossil fuel industry are replaced by growth in renewable energy.

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July 20, 2020 8:28 pm

Making de-carbonization work for workers. Policies for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in Canada

Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood. Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives. 2018.

Communities across Canada need a national strategy to ensure the move to a zero-carbon economy leaves no one behind. For the first time, this report uses census data to identify the regions in each province with the greatest reliance on fossil fuel jobs. The new analysis comes after the federal government announced last fall it will launch a task force in 2018 on a “just transition” policy framework for certain sectors. In general, the broad goal of a just transition is to ensure an equitable, productive outcome for all workers in the decarbonized future.

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July 20, 2020 8:27 pm

The End of Coal: Alberta’s coal phase-out

IISD. May 2018.

In November 2015, the Canadian province of Alberta committed to a phase-out of coal power by 2030. The phase-out of coal power in Alberta will involve the retirement of over 40 per cent of Alberta’s 2016 installed capacity and the de facto phase-out of local thermal coal mines.

This paper explores the circumstances leading to the phase-out and the actions taken by affected players for those who may draw inspiration and lessons from Alberta: policy-makers, campaigners, environmental groups, the coal industry and others transitioning to a low-carbon economy in Canada and the world over.

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July 20, 2020 8:24 pm

At the Crossroads: Balancing the financial and social costs of coal transition in China

Richard Bridle, Lucy Kitson, Hongxia Duan, Lourdes Sanchez, Travers Merrill. IISD (International Institute for Sustainable Development). 2017.

The boom and eventual bust of resource-dependent regions has played out across the world many times over the last 50 years. As extractive industries decline demands are made for subsidies to protect the industry while policy-makers search for new industries to replace lost jobs and maintain economic development.

This report examines the current status of the coal transition in Shanxi and proposes recommendations for how reform can be managed to ensure that economic, social and environmental factors are built into the process. These recommendations draw on international experience, in particular, the experience summarized in case studies from South Wales in the United Kingdom, Appalachian Kentucky in the United States and Asturias in Spain.

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July 20, 2020 8:23 pm

Prospects for steam coal exporters in the era of climate policies: a case study of Colombia

Pao-Yu Oei and Roman Mendelevitch. Climate Policy 2018.

This article summarizes current market developments in the most important coal-producing and coal-consuming countries, resulting in a critical qualitative assessment of prospects for future coal exports. Colombia, as the world’s fourth largest exporter, is strongly affected by these global trends, with more than 90% of its production being exported. Maintaining or even increasing mining volumes in Colombia should be re-evaluated, taking into account new economic realities as well as local externalities. Ignoring these risks could lead to additional stranded investments, aggravating the local resource curse and hampering sustainable economic development.

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July 20, 2020 8:19 pm

Realizing a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels

Stokholm Environment Institute. Piggot, G., Boyland, M., Down, A. and Torre, A.R. (2019).

While limiting fossil fuel use will likely bring a multitude of societal benefits – related to reduced climate risks, sustainable economic growth, air quality and human health – it is important to recognize that not everyone will benefit equally from a transition to a low-carbon economy. In particular, those who rely on fossil fuel production for their livelihood, or who were anticipating using fossil-fuelled energy to meet development needs, may carry a disproportionate share of the burdens of an energy transition.

The brief’s authors consider these questions as they examine the equity dimensions of just transition policies at the national and regional level. They focus specifically on two countries — the US and Thailand — to highlight key considerations and opportunities for improving justice and equity outcomes in transition policy and planning.

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July 20, 2020 8:18 pm

New jobs in the process of transformation of the Upper Nitra Region

Priatelia Zeme - CEPA and Bankwatch. 2019.

This paper focuses on a brief outline of concrete steps to turn Upper Nitra towards a low carbon future. In particular, it is to stop further public subsidies to fossil energy – especially lignite mining and burning – and urgently redirect public funds in the very opposite direction: towards the development of decentralized carbon-free energy under the control of regions and based on renewables. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that the use of renewable energy sources consistently respects the natural limits of the environment and that the energy produced from them is used to cover exclusively optimized energy needs.

The document offers several insights into job creation opportunities that are compatible with the low carbon futures of the regions: the construction of a sanitation infrastructure based on natural technologies, the development of regional carbon-free energy infrastructure and the construction of buildings by using natural materials.

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July 16, 2020 7:45 pm

Lessons from previous ‘coal transitions’. (report)

Climate Strategies, IDDRI. 2017.

The report provides a summary of lessons from six historical case studies of regional coal mining transitions that have occurred or are ongoing in Europe and the United States in recent decades.

These case studies and this report were developed as part of a broader project led by IDDRI (the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations) and Climate Strategies, entitled ‘Coal Transitions: Research and Dialogue on the Future of Coal’. This project seeks to utilise these historical lessons to facilitate the development of feasible coal transition scenarios in large coal producing countries today.

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June 1, 2020 8:55 pm

Towards a Just Transformation for the Upper Nitra region.

CEPA - Priatelia Zema and Bankwatch. 2019.

Priatelia ZEME – CEPA and CEE Bankwatch launched a set of recommendations to feed into the Just Transition debate taking place in Upper Nitra and at the national level in Slovakia.

The recommendations come in a context when Just Transition is increasingly becoming a main theme of debate around the energy sector transformation in Slovakia, with the government announcing in December an earlier end to subsidies for electricity production (now scheduled for 2023) and with local communities in Upper Nitra involved in a bottom-up process of rethinking the development of the region since January 2018.

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