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Global efforts to mitigate climate change are ramping up, with a rising numbers of countries, companies and financiers taking action to tackle climate change. At the same time, climate changes, such as temperature and weather changes, are increasing, with dramatic impacts on populations. These are having material impacts on the economy and society. In the short term, dealing with this transition has materialised primarily in a focus on the decarbonisation of the energy systems. In the medium to long term, this will extend to virtually all sectors and segments of society.

In this context, the just transition agenda has taken centre stage. It aims to lower the risks faced by the most affected and vulnerable stakeholders, such as working people, small businesses and low-income communities, while providing an opportunity to maximise the development of new opportunities and redress historical injustices.

Establishing a credible fact base is paramount for designing and implementing an evidence-based just transition. To allow easy access to a growing body of work on just transition, TIPS has curated relevant content into an open knowledge portal. This provides short summaries as well as key findings and recommendations from a diversity of reports, strategies, videos and podcasts. The knowledge portal focuses on South Africa but will be extended to other areas in the future.

The portal is a living initiative. Should you know of additional resources which could be added or spot any errors, please contact Lerato Monaisa at lerato@tips.org.za

Featured material

Just transitions and the green economy - navigating the fault lines

SUMMARY: The paper frames the Just Transition from a moral and business perspective. It assesses how much responsibility companies and organisations should have for the impact their clients have on

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National employment vulnerability assessment: analysis of potential climate change-related impacts and vulnerable groups

SUMMARY: The report provides a detailed analysis of the capacity of vulnerable communities, workers and businesses to adjust to climate change-related impacts in the coal, metals, transport-based petroleum, agricultural value

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Down to zero: The politics of Just Transition

SUMMARY: This book looks at the anticipated impact of climate change and the experiences of millions of people who are facing a climate disaster, focusing on Southern and South Africa.

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Unlocking a just energy transition for SA

SUMMARY: Professor Mark Swilling discusses the global renewable energy revolution, the public sector’s role in investment in renewables and how renewable energy has the potential to change social politics and

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Making sense of jobs in South Africa’s just energy transition: Managing the impact of a coal transition on employment

  • Institution / Author: Lauren Hermanus (Adapt), Gaylor Montmasson-Clair (TIPS)
  • Year: 2021
  • Sectoral focus: Coal
  • Thematic focus: Green and just recovery
  • Type of analysis: Political analysis
  • Type of document: Policy / strategy / plan / accord

SUMMARY: As the reality of a coal transition and coal power decommissioning draw nearer, South Africa’s just transition plan is both urgent and glaringly absent. There is a pressing need to manage the impacts of the transition on workers and local economic development, particularly in coal-dependent regions and affected communities. This policy brief speaks to the current policy vacuum, proposing steps to address it. It considers the implications of the coal transition for employment in South Africa, with reference to national policy and available research. It then seeks to characterise the key issues, points of contestation, and the current just transition/employment policy vacuum.

KEY FINDING / RECOMMENDATIONS: South Africa is in critical need of a just transition plan to manage the process of the coal transition. This policy brief makes three propositions how to move forward. 1) A credible fact base must be established by facilitating collaboration between researchers from different stakeholder groups. A significant amount of work has been done on just transition jobs by the government, research organisations, labour unions, civil society organisations.All the known and unknown facts about the coal transition should be mapped and made widely accessible. 2) The political trade-offs must be clearly defined. A robust process of engagement across levels of government and across stakeholders shouldidentify these trade-offs and unpack the socio-economic costs and benefits. 3) The hard decisions must be followed up with decisive action. While the coal transition is inevitable, support for vulnerable workers and communities is not. This requires movement between stakeholders with different priorities and rationales. 

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