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Online forum on Just Transition(s) to a low-carbon world launched

The ‘Just Transition’ – the idea that justice and equity must form an integral part of the transition towards a low-carbon world – is the focus of a new digital publication launched recently by the Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC) and the International Social Science Council. Its authors include members of the Transformations to Sustainability Transformative Knowledge Networks, and blogs will be cross-posted to this site.

With the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the international community has committed to bold and ambitious steps for tackling global warming and improving sustainability. However, the greatest challenge still lies ahead: identifying and mobilizing the resources, processes and actors necessary to set the world on pathway to a sustainable low-carbon future.

The Just Transition is one of a handful of concepts emerging as we collectively strive to address these important questions. In recent years we have seen a proliferation of references to Just Transition in policy circles, among NGOs, think tanks, philanthropic foundations and business interests. Instead of leading to an alignment of people’s views, the concept’s growing popularity has actually led to an expansion of its meanings. Is Just Transition just another another buzzword? Should we take it seriously? Can it play a positive role in the international climate and sustainable development debates?

The Just Transition debate is unique in that it brings together a wide range of stakeholders around the equity and justice dimensions of climate change. It raises important questions: What kind of transition do we want? In the interests of whom? To what ends? Questions that inevitably imply a deeper discussion on the meaning of ‘justice’ in the age of climate change.

Launched by the Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC), the Just Transition(s) forum seeks to address what it identifies as a need: to connect the social sciences and humanities with the Just Transition concept and those who use it, and with the climate and development conversation more broadly. Through a combination of concrete case studies and more conceptual analyses, the forum acts as a shared space for academics and other interested parties to share their views (and voice their concerns) on the Just Transition, its meanings, its current uses and its potential.

In the run-up to the UNFCCC first sessional period in May 2018, scholars and practitioners working on Just Transition will be invited to contribute a series of think pieces to the online discussion space, which has been established by the JTRC in partnership with the ISSC. The Just Transition Research Collaborative (JTRC) is run jointly by UNRISD and Edouard Morena (University of London Institute in Paris) and supported by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.

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