Any conceivable pathway to achieving the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius will require a transformation this century from a high carbon economy to a low carbon economy. This transformation will disproportionately affect those whose livelihoods are tied to a high carbon economy, including millions of fossil fuel industry workers. The international community has long recognized the moral, economic and political imperatives of ensuring that action on climate change does not neglect hardships that may be imposed on these workers, their families and their surrounding communities.
The 2015 Paris Agreements invites countries to develop long-term low greenhouse gas emissions development strategies. The Paris Agreement also includes the following language:
“Taking into account the imperatives of a just transition of the workforce and the creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities...” (2015 Paris Agreement, page 2)
In this paper series, we are soliciting expert perspectives on the role in long-term strategies of planning for a thriving low carbon economy for all people, including just transitions for those whose livelihoods are closely tied to a high-carbon economy.
Specific issues on the role of planning for just transitions in long-term strategies that experts may address include:
Inclusive stakeholder processes that enable the input of workers, unions and trade associations connected to a high carbon economy in a way that is productive rather than acrimonious;
Coordination with experts who focus on economic development and transitions, particularly those with the knowledge to address local concerns;
Categories of individuals who are most vulnerable to the low carbon transition (fossil fuel workers, low income households, etc.)
The level of detail a long-term strategy should provide on the distributional effects of low emissions strategies, including effects on employment and income across industries and geographic regions.
The definition of a successful transition, given the inevitability of both winners and losers in any major economic transition;
Public policies and measures that can play an important role in ensuring just transitions, including climate change and non-climate change-related policies. For example, policies can promote economic development for affected communities and job training and relocation assistance for affected workers.
The level of a detail a long-term strategy should provide on the proposed public policies and measures that ensure a just transition for affected workers, households and communities.
Examples of previous successful or unsuccessful economic transitions and how we can learn from those experiences;
Balancing the desire to comprehensively address a topic as complex and wide-ranging as economic development with the benefits of a concise and focused low emissions strategy.