The term is used by trade unions to refer to the efforts to provide support for workers in the shift to a low-carbon economy necessitated by climate change. The premise for this strategy is that many current jobs will be lost in the shift away from carbon-based energy to renewable energies, and it is only fair, or just, to help workers adjust to these changes and still maintain a reasonable standard of living. Some of the efforts include re-training and education, investment in technologies that will create sustainable jobs, and participation by workers in developing policies that affect this transition.
The loss of jobs in the rapidly declining coal industry is the classic example. What can be done to help these coal workers find alternative jobs or careers in a just transition to renewable energy.
To the extent that the focus is on assuring that workers are not disproportionately harmed by the impacts from climate change then the workers unions often align themselves with those who fight to increase social justice for women, the poor and communities that also are particularly at risk from climate change.
Some further ideas to explore on Just Transition:
Identify several jobs in your area that are at risk of being lost because of a transition to a low-carbon economy.
Identify what businesses or industries in your area that have potential to grow as a result of the transition to a low-carbon economy or for any other reason.
Determine what skills development and education will be necessary to re-train the workers in the jobs that will be lost in order to make them prepared for the jobs that will become available.
Labor Network for Sustainability, A Just Transition bit.ly/2j5viIn
Just Transition Alliance, What is Just Transition. bit.ly/2Ojem0u
E3G, Just Transition: Regions, workers and citizens in the transition to a sustainable future bit.ly/2Eh2YO6