Ensuring fairness for workers and communities as the world transitions to a clean energy society is a complex task, and not one helped by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. A report published in March 2021 by the Environmental Defense Fund sets out what policymakers need to do to ensure a just transition.
The NGO has compiled findings from a series of studies that unpack existing US and European policies related to the just transition. It distills them into five recommendations:
- There is no silver bullet for a just transition. Lawmakers will have to consider and implement a variety of policies.
- Lawmakers will need to ensure policies are coordinated across all levels of government.
- Early-stage interventions, including reforms to bankruptcy laws, programmes to shore up local governments experiencing a decline in their tax base, and efforts to get displaced workers into new, high-quality jobs are vital.
- Special attention needs to be given to low-income and minority communities, and affected workers and communities should be engaged in the design of just transition programmes.
- Challenges the energy transition poses for public revenue streams must be addressed.