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A just transition

If the world is to meet internationally agreed targets for limiting climate change, the production and use of fossil fuels must wind down in a short span of time, and on a global scale. What it means to make this transition towards a low carbon economy "just", and what it takes to achieve it, is a key focus of SEI's work.

Date published
19 May 2020

Many dimensions to a just transition

The idea of a just transition to low carbon economies has many dimensions – the term has been used by different stakeholders to shed light on different aspects of the transition process and the need to ensure the benefits and costs of transition are equitably distributed.

A just transition means ensuring economies decarbonize, to address the highly uneven distribution of costs and impacts associated with climate change. It also means ensuring – at the same time – that workers, families and regions that are affected by these shifts are supported in finding new livelihoods and managing the social, economic and environmental legacies of industrial change.


Policy responses to deindustrialization have typically focused on supporting (male) employees. But women and other social groups may face specific challenges and at the same time be agents of change in the low-carbon transition.

Just transitions therefore require targeted policy and other forms of support to address underlying social inequalities in contexts of limited energy access and de-industrialization.

Regional work

As the cost of renewable energy falls and countries around the world switch to cleaner energy sources, coal export depending countries need to start planning for life after coal.