8c. Just Transition

Track Chairs

Goals and Objectives of the Track

Just transition is a process of moving to a low-carbon economy without compromising the rights of individuals and communities. The current rhetoric of governments, companies, institutions and scholars discuss how to transit to an economy without CO2 emissions, but little is mentioned about fairness. There is a need to relate the forms of justice to society more clearly, so while offering a path forward, we are mindful of inequality in modern society. Recent policy reforms to correct the inequality represent an example of policy failure. What research and policy mostly focus on are the economic aspects of the transition.

The concept of just transition originates from the trading union movements. That is why historically, it was connected to environmental justice. Here prominent was job argument and a broader inevitable cost allocation that the transition involves, such as electric vehicles or smart devices. Originated in the historical movement, now environmental justice is embedded into the just transition concept, jointly with climate justice and energy justice. Climate justice entails sharing the benefits and burdens of climate change from a human rights viewpoint, while energy justice concerns human rights across the energy life-cycle. Environmental justice seeks to treat all citizens equally and involve them in developing, implementing, and enforcing environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

These aspects of just transition aim at a fair and equitable process of moving towards a post-carbon society. This process seeks fairness and equity and references ethnicity, income, gender within developing and developed contexts. This is because the transition in its nature must take place on a global scale.

The cities play various roles in governing the climate change challenges and energy transition. The municipalities can be viewed as primary actors enacting transition processes and also can be seen as seedbeds and locations for testing, experimenting with, and developing radical innovations in the early phases of transition. Smart cities have the potential to contribute significantly to environmental sustainability; however, a challenge can be to ensure a just, inclusive, and affordable transition. For some, the economic and social vulnerability of marginalized groups may be overwhelming. Cities are already under complex and interactive pressures such as air pollution, the impacts of climate change (e.g. heatwaves, flood risks), climate change tasks (e.g. decarbonization), traffic congestion, housing affordability, public health, social inequality, biodiversity and more. Outdated infrastructures that fail to incorporate potential transformative technologies and practices exacerbate these problems.

In this track, we wish to discuss the regional and urban transformations as a remedy for existing inequalities and the way to ensure that the new policies and measures of climate action mitigation and adaptation will be fairly distributed, leaving no one behind. Just transition closely relates to SDGs 7 and 11 calling for inclusive climate actions and building resilient settlements for all. The track contributions addressing justice and fairness in the following areas are especially welcome:

  • Energy poverty and efficiency
  • Renovation of buildings and other infrastructure, retrofitting and clean energy technologies
  • Public transport and mobility, accessibility, affordability, and availability of transport choices, safety, health impacts of air pollution, private vehicles electrification
  • Smart cities and transparency, inclusion and affordability of smart solutions
  • Carbon pricing schemes, green investment
  • Jobs versus environment problem, green jobs provision, re-skilling of workers
  • Inclusive and citizen-centric governance.

Length and content of the proposed abstract to the track

Each proposed abstract (in connection to an area pointed out above) of between 300 and 500 words (including all aspects),

  1. shall be best organized (without headlines) along usual structure: introduction, methods, findings or results, and discussion/conclusions.
  2. does not need but can include references.
  3. shall provide a final section indicating
    1. how the proposed abstract relates to the sustainable development goals SDGs and SDG-targets (e.g. “SDG +Target: 14.1.”).
    2. briefly how the proposed contribution relates to the theme of the Conference – “Half-way through Agenda 2030Assessing the 5Ps of SDG(people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership)

Potential publication channels

With regard to potential publications, depending on the number and quality of contributions the following publication opportunities are envisaged:

  • Sustainable Development  (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10991719; ISDRS framework agreement with Wiley)