As we transition to a low-carbon economy, we must ensure that this process is fair, effective, and inclusive. In other words, it must be a ‘just transition’. This means that we need to share the costs and benefits of climate action in a fair and equitable manner.
The Just Transition Research Project, led by the Energy Democracy Project (EDP), has been developed to examine what a just transition means to workers, communities and businesses in our region and identify pathways for socially inclusive decarbonisation.
We want to listen and learn from our citizens’ experiences, concerns, aspirations and visions for the future, and work together to develop a community- and worker-led just transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.
In particular, the project will identify, engage and consult people working in high-carbon industries that will be most affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy. There will be specific focus on highlighting the opportunities and barriers facing workers in high-carbon industries moving into ‘green’ and low-carbon sectors. This is vital because we need to ensure that the existing workforce is supported and equipped with the right skills, expertise and training needed for the jobs that are emerging, or will need to adapt, in the context of climate change.
The just transition is also an important opportunity to improve economic inclusion; making sure under-represented groups are meaningfully considered in the transition away from high-carbon jobs.
The project aligns with the three cross-cutting priorities of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA): Net Zero Transition, Inclusive Economy, and Innovation in Recovery. The research also builds upon previous citizen-led engagement on climate change in the region, such as the Climate Change Citizens’ Assembly. The project will publish the final report in the summer of 2023, outlining policy recommendations for NTCA and other stakeholders.
The EDP and the NTCA ran a series of online, paid workshops for workers in two key sectors in the region – agriculture and construction – to share their experiences and discuss what a fair and inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy means to them.
The workshops were participant-led, with small group discussions following the ‘world café’ model. This involved informal conversations where participants examined an issue or question in small groups with the help of a discussion host. The workshops were based on four key themes: sustainability, skills and knowledge, the nature of work in the sector and government support.
The workshops were open to anyone interested in working in these sectors, currently employed in these sectors, and people studying a relevant course in these industries.
The workshops were an opportunity for people involved within these sectors to have their voices heard by a wider audience and directly shape the recommendations of regional just transition policy.
As fuel prices rise in the context of global energy issues, reducing energy consumption is an important topic for all businesses. Therefore, we needed to hear the views of local business owners or managers of companies of any size and sector located in the North of Tyne region about what support is needed to reduce carbon emissions and plan for a sustainable future.
We have a dedicated Commonplace Page for the Just Transition project https://ajusttransition.commonplace.is
If you would like to find out more about the Just Transition Project or get involved, please contact the Just Transition Project Coordinator at email@example.com
Who are the Energy Democracy Project?
Energy Democracy Project (EDP) was set up in 2003 to support educational and research activities around climate change. It has focused on building support for energy democracy and a just transition in the UK since 2014. EDP focuses on engaging and consulting trade unions, unionised and non-unionised workers, and communities in building visions and pathways for a just and rapid climate transition.