03. May 2024Final CINTRAN Newsletter

Dear reader! Carbon-intensive and coal regions continue to find themselves deeply engaged in socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-demographic transition processes which threaten to unravel the foundations of their communities. After four years of research and productive exchanges with practitioners and policy-makers alike, CINTRAN – Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change – is coming to an end. With this final newsletter, we would like to invite you to dive into the final flagship outputs of the project and reflect the multiple project results and insights generated that can help coal+ intensive regions move forward for a just transition. Enjoy the read – and let us all keep working on transforming injustices into justices!

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Four key principles for a Just Transition: Summarizing CINTRAN’s major takeaways

This final CINTRAN policy brief synthesises science-based research from multiple CINTRAN outputs. It aims at guiding decision-makers, experts and other relevant practitioners in unravelling the complexities of the structural change transforming their own regions. The paper’s four “key principles” can be used as general reference across transition processes and serve as an entry point into many of CINTRAN’s science-based findings, providing a hint of the depth to be found in resolving the roots of resistance, encouraging inclusive engagement, scaling up upskilling and guiding good governance to support the adaptive and transformative capacity of coal+ and carbon-intensive regions.

Find out more at

View the CINTRAN flagship summary webinar at https://coaltransitions.org/news/cintran-flagship-insights-to-help-navigate-the-just-energy-transition-the-final-take/

Photo by Chris Munch on Unsplash

Legacy Injustices, Coping Strategies, and Elite Governance: Learnings from CINTRAN’s research

A recently published synthesis presents and further develops CINTRAN work on responses and impacts as well as the project in general. It consists of three separate papers:

The first paper provides a perspective on legacy injustices created by the fossil fuel system, reflecting learnings from the entire project. It argues that current approaches to Just Transition for coal-dependent regions in Europe are neglecting the legacy injustices created by the fossil fuel industry.

The second paper consolidates research on the CINTRAN Inventory of Coping Strategies. We find that given decarbonisation is progressing rapidly, different actors respond to its impacts in different ways. Whether these responses seek to resist decarbonisation, adapt to new realities, or fundamentally transform the social and economic conditions that define decarbonisation contexts, depends on the actor groups in question and the resources they are able to draw upon.

Finally, the third paper builds on previous work on the role of elite actors: as decarbonisation policies are rolled out across Europe, there are cascading and disruptive impacts on those who live and work in carbon-intensive regions. New realities are emerging across these regions, shaped to varying degrees by the power of elite actors. This paper uses a mixed-methods data set of newspaper data, focus groups and interviews to examine how elites are shaping, and are shaped by, responses to decarbonisation policy – and the consequences of this.Read the full report at

Lessons from CINTRAN’s regional case studies: Assessing patterns and dynamics of change

CINTRAN systematically assessed transition processes on the ground in highly affected coal and carbon-intensive regions across Europe: Ida-Virumaa in Estonia, Western Macedonia in Greece, Silesia in Poland and the Rhineland in Germany. A particular focus was laid on the socioeconomic, sociopolitical and sociodemographic dimensions, with special attention to the impact of the transition on equity. As differently as structural change is approached in the individual regions, and as different as the status of the phase-out of these energy sources is, there are nevertheless findings that can be concluded for all four regions. The large variation in terms of political systems, state of development, institutional setup and degree of economic diversification even allows us to draw generalisable conclusions and propose overarching policy recommendations.

Download the policy brief at https://coaltransitions.org/publications/patterns-and-dynamics-of-structural-change/

Beyond “petro-masculinity”: Caring for carbon-intensive regions in transition

Women and their interests are underrepresented in transition policy. They benefit less from transition measures and areas of activity that are female-dominated, such as education and care, receive less attention than male-dominated areas of activity. This CINTRAN policy brief calls for a better inclusion of more diverse voices and needs. This does not only affect the equality issues, but also because there is a special need for care in many carbon-intensive regions: the social and economic stress that the transition can cause requires emotional labour and support for those affected. Social conflicts that exist around fossil fuel extraction must be addressed. Social divisions – visible, for example, in high support for right-wing populist parties – must be dealt with and outmigration must be countered.

View the full policy brief at


Socioeconomic impacts and public policy costs of the transition

A relevant part of CINTRAN’s analyses focused on assessing the socioeconomic and the public policy costs of the transition through different methodological approaches. Two recently published major outputs reflect this work:
The first study aims at exploring the spatial implications of the EU carbon neutrality pathway by assessing the socioeconomic impacts at the regional (NUTS2) level. It does so by performing a scenario analysis of the EU’s Fit-for-55 package and towards climate neutrality in 2050. In addition, it analyses the macroeconomic contribution of the bloc’s Just Transition Fund (JTF) by incorporating the demand and employment opportunities generated by the JTF measures, thus assessing the effectiveness of the Fund.
The second study, assessing public policy costs of coal-phase out policies worldwide, analyses all countries with coal phase-out pledges globally. The study finds that more than half of all countries that have coal phase-out pledges also compensate negatively affected actors. Compensation is larger in countries with more ambitious coal phase-out pledges and most commonly directed to national or regional governments or companies, with a small share going directly to workers. The authors highlight that the socio-political acceptance of coal phase-out has a tangible economic component which should be factored into assessing the feasibility of achieving climate targets.
Both studies are now available in one comprehensive report. Download at  https://coaltransitions.org/publications/assessing-the-socioeconomic-impacts-and-public-policy-costs-of-the-transition-in-carbon-intensive-regions/

Shaping post-coal landscapes: CINTRAN’s further policy recommendations

CINTRAN’s policy briefs formulate short and precise policy recommendations for decision-makers. Apart from the papers introduced above, we’d like to draw your attention to the following papers of the series:

Photo by M. Bashyrow on Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/LfUCb4, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED

Last but not least: all recent CINTRAN output

Get the full picture of what CINTRAN researchers produced this year and beyond, including work on socioeconomic risk, a detailed account on overarching findings across all CINTRAN focus regions, and more at https://coaltransitions.org/publications/?range=2024%2C2024&keywords=cintran

Our Sister Projects


ENTRANCES aims to develop a theoretically-based and empirically-grounded understanding of cross-cutting issues related to SSH aspects of “Clean Energy Transition” in European coal mining and carbon-intensive regions, so as to formulate a set of recommendations in order to tackle these issues. With an overall view to involve different key players and perspectives at territorial, regional, national, an European levels, ENTRANCES will develop 13 regional case studies.
Read more.


TIPPING+ will provide an empirical in-depth social science understanding of fundamental changes in socio-demographic, geographical, psychological, cultural, political, and economic patterns which give rise to Social-Ecological Tipping Points, both positive and negative in relation to socio-energy regional systems. The main focus of TIPPING+ is the participatory co-production of knowledge on the driving forces and deliberate tipping interventions leading to the emergence of positive tipping points toward clean energy transitions in European coal and carbon intensive regions.
Read more.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 884539. The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of INEA or other EU agencies or bodies.

Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH
Editor: Christof Arens
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