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  • Credit: © Greenpeace Africa / Mujahid Safodien

  • Credit: © Greenpeace Africa / Mujahid Safodien

  • Credit: © Greenpeace Africa / Mujahid Safodien

  • Credit: © Greenpeace Africa / Mujahid Safodien


What is the Just Transition?

 The International Trade Union Confederation defines a “Just Transition” as follows:

“A Just Transition secures the future and livelihoods of workers and their communities in the transition to a low-carbon economy. It is based on social dialogue between workers and their unions, employers, government and communities. A plan for Just Transition provides and guarantees better and decent jobs, social protection, more training opportunities and greater job security for all workers affected by global warming and climate change policies.”

Life After Coal partner and environmental justice group groundWork set out the following key components to a Just Transition in its 2017 report The Destruction of the Highveld: Burning Coal:

“[A] just transition… needs to re-envision our economy and our society through a widespread, grassroots-based debate. We suggest that some starting points can be identified in a more equal and ecologically sustainable economy, based on people’s solidarity that serves people’s needs, not profit, such a:

  • a new energy system based on socially owned renewables;
  • new jobs in renewables;
  • large scale restoration and detoxification of ecosystems injured by the fossil fuel economy on the Highveld;
  • a new and healthier food economy;
  • healthier and climate wise housing;
  • a new and healthier transport economy;
  • a reorientation and expansion of municipal services;
  • a basic income grant for all.

Just Transition in South Africa

Climate Change and the Just Transition from Coal: An illustrated booklet in 4 languages produced by the Society, Work & Politics Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. This booklet provides background and explanations about the need for a Just Transition from fossil fuels, based on the urgency of climate change. It is in response to requests made in knowledge exchange workshops between communities on the Mpumalanga Highveld and the SWOP coal research project in 2019. Its aim is to empower communities to participate in debates about the Just Transition from fossil fuels. It will be presented for use by activists and communities in coal-affected communities, and revised in the light of comments from those who have used it.

Presentation by Prof Mark Swilling in May 2019 entitled: “Unlocking a just energy transition for South Africa”

Research and reports

Just Transition in the media

Just Transitions around the world

Research and reports:

Important websites:

Case studies:

United Kingdom






United States