Over the past two decades, as the urgency to build a low-carbon society has gained momentum, the question about the fate of the fossil fuel industry workers and the communities dependent on such industries have gained prominence.
Just transition highlights the need for social justice in the shift towards a zero-carbon world. It reinforces the fact that ending our dependence on fossil fuel should not be a trade-off between the environment and economy. It compels us to think and plan alternative economic and social systems that are sustainable and thriving.
For India, the question to move away from coal mining is complex given the country’s coal dependency and the social fabric of mining areas. But Just Transition can be “good economics and good politics”, if a shift away from coal-economy is planned and managed well. A well-managed just transition will not only help to mitigate the impacts of climate change but also ensure a growth trajectory that is sustainable and equitable and is less vulnerable to social and economic disruptions. The advancements in renewable energy and other innovative technologies give us a perfect opportunity to transition to clean energy; we must seize it. At the same time, we must ensure that coal industry workers and the local communities do not shoulder the burden of such energy transition. In our engagement on climate change mitigation, we are working towards a just transition through a collective approach of fulfilling both environmental and social obligation.