The Just Transition is a concept that has been gaining momentum in recent years, as the world grapples with the need to address the climate crisis while ensuring a fair and equitable transition to a low-carbon economy. The idea of a Just Transition is rooted in the principle that those who are most affected by the shift to a low-carbon economy should not bear the brunt of the costs, and should instead receive the necessary support to enable them to benefit from the new economy.
Governments are struggling to provide adequate support to those who are most affected by the transition, such as those who work in the fossil fuel industry or those who are dependent on it for their livelihood. Furthermore, many of the proposed solutions are focused on the long-term, leaving those affected in the short-term to struggle. This is an inadequate response to the just transition, as those affected should be supported both in the short and long-term.
The question remains whether governments will step up to the plate and find innovative ways to bridge the gap between the now and the ideal future. Some mechanisms which could be employed could be:
Social safety nets to protect vulnerable workers and communities from the impacts of a just transition. These could include income support programs with a wider means testing solution to capture all those impacted, access to affordable housing, and access to health care and other basic services.
Economic incentives which would counteract the cost of transitioning to cleaner energy sources and supply chains.
Creating accessible upskilling opportunities and investing in industries with new job creation potential.
Moreover, governments should focus on how they can reignite the touch they have long lost with the societies which empower them.