Understanding Just Transitions in Coal-Dependent Communities
October 28, 2021
The world has already warmed to over 1°C above pre-industrial levels, largely due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal. Any steps to keep global warming well below 2°C, a target enshrined in the Paris Agreement, would require rapid reduction in the use of fossil fuels—particularly coal. Although some Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries have made plans to phase out coal-based power, attaining Paris Agreement goals would require large coal-dependent emerging economies, including South Africa and India, to also reduce their long-term dependency on coal.
Beyond the techno-economic challenges of managing a coal phase out, there are complex and multifaceted social concerns associated with a coal phase out. Addressing these concerns will require just transition planning to ensure workers and communities are not left behind.
In South Africa and India, coal transitions will likely have an outsized impact in certain areas due to the concentration of coal production in a handful of states.
This study focuses on Mpumalanga and Jharkhand—prominent coal-dependent regions in South Africa and India—and analyzes coal dependency and just transition prospects in these jurisdictions to generate insights and recommendations useful for these regions as well as other coal-dependent emerging economies.
This report is made possible by support from Climate Investment Funds.