Just Transition: Understanding the implications of moving away from coal

01 Aug 2021
Just transition

It is the need of the hour to take a closer look at the fossil-fuel economy, environment, people, market opportunities and other players/stakeholders. An action research agenda in the coal producing belts could create a ground for further reflection and trigger a futuristic worldview that envisages greater inclusion and equity. While transitioning to the envisaged non-fossil fuel economy in time, it is crucial to map implications of coal phase-out and create a blueprint for a proactive planning and an inclusive, fair and humane transition.

Just transition lens offers an insightful understanding about how one takes a holistic view of energy, climate and development considerations in order to effectively deal with energy, technology and socio-economic barriers and envision newer opportunities. While retaining focus on de-carbonisation and seeding cleaner energy options, we cannot afford to lose sight of the human dimensions as socio-economic factors like lives and livelihoods of vulnerable segments of population who are at a greater risk, access to services and opportunities, rights and entitlements, local and institutional capacities, etc.

Building a just transition framework to focus on comprehending the overall scenario, coal value chain and carrying out a situational analysis through taking a deep dive in coal producing belt, and recommending a way forward for planned coal phase down/out is the key intent of the project.

Just transition

The Just Transition project supported by MacArthur Foundation will aim at the following aspects:

  • Build a knowledge base on the content that is central to protecting the lives and livelihoods of communities in transition that yet has not received much attention
  • Design a strategy for effective outreach to facilitate the setting up of a consultative group for just transition dialogues
  • Testing some of the elements of the research product in the field
  • Share research products with the stakeholders working on issues of transition, to facilitate learning and adapt practices accordingly
  • Develop a framework with outcome-based indicators for just and equitable transition

The project will focus on the coal mining industry (i.e., upstream side) in order to explore opportunities of addressing the implications on coal-dependent communities among coal-rich states in India and will also focus on the coal-dependent MSME sector (i.e., downstream side) to ascertain impact on MSME workforce in selected coal consuming sectors/regions and their reskilling needs.

Expected outcomes of this study:

  • The emergence of a holistic understanding and a body of knowledge that would guide futuristic thinking, policies, and action
  • Development of a participatory, result-based, and action-oriented framework for Just transitions in coal mining and coal using the MSME sector
  • Generation of a database that would help predict risks, opportunities, plan mitigation and measure transformation. This will also be useful for other research think tanks and academicians in the country.
  • Scientific inquiry resulting in a compendium would help generate a greater awareness leading to factoring “just transition” in any development and policy discourse and enabling decision-making bodies, industries, civil society, and people at large in making an informed choice.

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