Abandoned coal mine, Ikeshima Island, Nagasaki, Japan. Photo: Masataka Matsuo / Flickr

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the special report Global Warming of 1.5°C. In it, the authors call for “far-reaching transitions in energy” that are “unprecedented in terms of scale”, in order to keep temperatures from rising 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Dramatic changes in energy systems – as well as deep reductions in emissions and reduced reliance on fossil fuels – will inevitably affect distinct social groups differently, producing winners and losers. This paper examines the distributional impacts of historical mine closure and decline, in order to inform current and future energy transition planning.

Specifically, the analysis focuses on the financial, psychological and labour-related impacts of mining closure and decline on gendered identities in mining communities and on youth. It looks at the vulnerability of these impacted groups on the individual, household, national and regional scale, as well as by income, race, ethnicity, age, locality (place of origin), gender and disability. It then discusses the effectiveness of implemented policy responses and initiatives in supporting these two social groups.