Just Transitions: Contesting, Defining and Implementing in an EU Context

ECPR Virtual General Conference

25/08/2020 09:00 – 10:45



In the process of transformation towards decarbonisation, the concept of ‘just transition’ speaks to the need to attend to important considerations of equity and justice. Governing the European climate and energy transition in turbulent times (see GOVTRAN, https://www.govtran.eu/) is widely agreed to require it. However, defining its more precise meaning, and the extent to which it can be operationalised, remains an on-going contest in a range of policy domains that is shaped by institutional constraints and powerful vested interests, as well as the enthusiasm of advocates. At an over-arching, global level, while vocal advocates of the so-called Green New Deal (GND) are attempting to frame the future of climate policy in terms of increased public spending and state intervention to tackle both entrenched inequalities and carbon emissions, whether the EU (and member state) institutions as currently constituted provide a context that can enable such a bold re-orientation is open to question. Despite being ambitious in many respects, and featuring a Just Transition Mechanism, the Commission’s (subtly re-worded) European Green Deal, launched in late 2019, disappointed GND advocates. Moreover, significant uncertainties lie ahead, particularly in light of the economic consequences of COVID-19. How far pressure from social movements can influence more local processes of low carbon transformation to become more participatory in conception remains to be seen. Contributions to this panel (convened under the auspices of the GOVTRAN network) examine the nature of, and outcomes from, these on-going discursive struggles over just transition at a range of governance levels and in various policy sectors in the European Union, examine alternative conceptualisations, or offer principles with potential to guide contentious policy decisions.



Conceptualising Just Transition for Policy Analysis: a Framework for Multilevel Governance
Contesting Transitions of Lignite Mining Regions: A Framework to Assess Bottom-Up and Top-Down Initiated Processes from a Just Transitions Perspective
Energy Poverty, A Loss of Dignity, and the Populist Gap
The EU Green Deal Impacts on the Employment Sector. Opportunities & Challenges

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