New forum launched to discuss the equity and justice dimensions of Just Transition

On April 13, the Just Transition Research Collaborative launched a Just Transition(s) Online Forum , whose purpose is enrich discussion of climate change with equity and justice concerns – specifically focused on the growing debate about Just Transition, and from the perspective of  the humanities and social sciences. According to the introduction:  “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. We want this space to be as interactive as possible, so please feel free to share your reactions or Just Transition-related stories and analyses.”

Of the four items published to the Forum so far, three of the authors are associated with the Adapting Canadian Work and Workplaces to Climate Change (ACW) project:  1. Dmitri Stevis posted  “(Re)claiming Just Transition” , which  notes “the concept’s growing popularity has actually led to an expansion of its meanings.”  Professor Stevis sees this as “a challenge for stakeholders as it makes it more difficult to clearly identify what Just Transition stands for, who is behind it and what is the underlying theory of change. Is Just Transition simply another “buzzword”? Should we take it seriously? Can it play a positive role in the international climate and sustainable development debates?” He concludes, “It is, therefore, important to think about it systematically so that we can, at the very least, differentiate initiatives that co-opt and dilute its promise from initiatives that contribute to a global politics of social and ecological emancipation.”

The second article is by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, with  “Who Deserves a Just Transition?” , which focuses on Canada and is based on his recent report Making decarbonization work for workers: Policies for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy in Canada.  The third ACW research associate, Roman Felli, argues  “A Just Transition Must Include Climate Change Adaptation”  .  He uses the example of  collective bargaining by UNIA, a Swiss construction union, and argues that unions need to anticipate how  climate change will  impact the work of their members, concluding with, “What are you doing about it in your union?”

The fourth article to date,  “Just Transitions as a process with communities, not for communities” is by Rebecca Shelton, and highlights the transitions made by the coal communities of Kentucky.

The Just Transition Research Collaborative plans to release a State-of-the-art report on Just Transition in December 2018.   The Just Transition(s) Online Forum is hosted jointly by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, the University of London Institute in Paris, the International Social Science Council, and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung — New York Office.

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