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COP26: A just transition?
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank has published the findings from two workshops held during COP26 that examined national just energy transition examples from around the world and projects that emphasised community engagement and participation.
Nine speakers from England, Wales, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Kenya outlined their projects, highlighting what helped them succeed and the obstacles they had to overcome.
The COP26: A just transition? briefing paper draws out the common themes emerging from the case studies to provide learnings for stakeholders interested in their own projects focused on embedding a just transition.
Common findings include the importance of coordinated government approaches between national, regional, and local levels of government; and the need to go beyond protecting jobs to maximising the wider benefits of a transition and engaging with the local community. The importance of having a clear industrial strategy that diversifies the economy away from the industry in question was also highlighted. It was recognised that transitions take time, but the time to act is running out as the climate crisis intensifies; and there was recognition that awareness of a just transition can vary, with a nation’s economic circumstances impacting its ability to deliver one.
Furthermore, wider community engagement is regarded as essential to getting buy-in from people; with part of the success and positive attitude towards community-focused projects being the sharing (in some cases literally) the fruits of their labour with the community itself. It was also noted that while business models can vary, funding, even if just at the start, is normally crucial to community projects in some form to get them going. Meanwhile, although engaging with the community can help to create buy-in, it is also important to recognise that some people may be resistant to the project’s goals.
The wider conclusion was that there is a clear need for greater collaboration in three areas. First, within countries, it will be key for national, regional, and local government to be coordinated in order to develop both large-scale just transition projects and local, community-led projects all within a national framework. Second, for the UK and Germany in particular, the similarities in economic circumstances offers an opportunity for greater knowledge sharing. Finally, the case studies demonstrated how the theory and practice of just transitions vary between nations and depend on economic circumstances, suggesting there is a greater need for global knowledge sharing in future COP negotiations.