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Four Case Studies on Just Transition: Lessons for Ireland

Just transition is a new and emerging topic. It should be kept in mind that we are examining transitions in progress, and that there are no ready-made templates of successful, completed, transitions to a zero-carbon economy. There is a wealth of literature on internationally agreed foundational principles, but few examples of transitions in practice and no example of a region that has completed its transition to an entirely non-fossil-fuel-based system. Most country-level examples of transition also focus overtly on regional transitions away from coal-based employment. The Scottish Just Transition Commission appears to be the only current example of an economy-wide transition being put into practice. Momentum, however, is building in global support for such an ‘all economy’ approach, as evidenced by increasing international discourse on a ‘Green New Deal’.

This lack of practical templates is an opportunity for Ireland to lead on an internationally regarded example of just transition in the Midlands. As other countries begin their transitions, Ireland can serve as an international example of a proactive, inclusive and place-based just transition to an economy that operates within environmental and social limits.

An analysis of transitions away from fossil-fuel-based regional employment in Australia’s Latrobe Valley, Scotland’s Just Transition Commission and Germany’s Ruhr Valley and Lausitz/Lusatia finds that an inclusive, iterative, place-based, context-specific approach enabled by public investment provides the best outcomes, including the creation of low-carbon employment alternatives.



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