A rapid transition to a renewable energy system is imperative if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change; but a just transition – where no one is left behind – is critical to meet justice and equity demands and ensure broad social acceptance of the profound changes the energy transition entails.
IRENA consulted with trade unions and energy sector employers to understand their perspectives and build consensus on a net zero future. This Coalition for Action brief captures their concerns, insights, and recommendations on how the energy transition can develop in a just manner for all. A key conclusion drawn from this dialogue is that all voices must be heard, especially those of workers and communities on the front line of the transition who will be most affected.
If the transition is to gain the full support of the labour movement, the focus must be on job quality not just quantity. Social dialogue should play a greater role in shaping energy transition labour policies. Business requires consistent policy and a level playing field – such as long-term policies for renewables, robust regulatory frameworks and effective auction criteria reflecting just transition demands.
In order to build a workforce for the future green economy, training and education must meet anticipated needs. In addition, greater workforce diversity, and the participation of women, ethnic minorities and youth, are not only ethical imperatives but also necessary for broadening the talent pool. Finally, funding must significantly increase to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement commitments. Proactive efforts are therefore needed to align financial flows with just transition demands.