Seven principles to realize a just transition to a low-carbon economy

Authors: Aaron Atteridge, Claudia Strambo
Policy report
June 2020

Key messages

• The “just transition” concept captures a full sweep of issues that raise fundamental questions
about matters of fairness surfacing in the global shift to a low-carbon economy – particularly
for people and regions that now depend on carbon-intensive industries and sectors.

• Based on an analysis of related literatures and historic case studies of similar economic
disruptions, this policy report presents seven principles of a just transition. It suggests
ways to implement these principles in practice, so that regions facing decarbonization can
prepare for inevitable change on the horizon, with critical investments, policy reforms and
inclusive dialogue.

• International financial and technical support for transition should prioritize those regions with
low capacity, lower responsibilities for historical emissions, or high dependence on carbon-intensive
economic activities.

• To achieve equity aims, all principles should be pursued in parallel, not selectively. At the
same time, nothing justifies postponing the first principle: the decarbonization imperative.
Delays that leave regions behind as decarbonization accelerates across the globe are
inherently unjust – as are the ramifications of unchecked climate change itself.

Read the policy report.