As the energy transition gathers pace globally, there is an increased focus on the need for a “just transition”: that is, ensuring that the shift away from fossil fuels is socially responsible from the perspective of affected workers and communities. Just transition planning is still nascent in India and would benefit from a comprehensive review of the national context and relevant international experience and best practice. This brief provides an initial assessment of priorities and opportunities for further information sharing based on a review of international literature and expert interviews. Specifically, the brief identifies:
- Global just transition elements most relevant for India.
- Research topics needing further investigation to help support just transition in India.
- India’s experiences that might be useful for other emerging economies.
Among the key research needs, it highlights:
- Examination of other countries’ just transition plans for coal.
- Mapping of stakeholders and their needs, particularly unionized and non-unionized workers and their communities, including to better understand the implications for just transitions of coal in personal and community identity.
- Opportunities to diversify coal state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and coal-dependent regional economies based on international experience and research into local needs and attributes.
- Options to reform coal sector pension funds, based on international experience, to ensure all current and future pensions are fully funded.
- Potential for coal mining and coal power plant sites to become sources of employment and ongoing regional income; how funds could be raised for rehabilitation and development of sites.
Other developing and emerging economies with a coal sector—at the national or subnational level—are likely to face similar challenges and research needs. These countries would benefit from sharing India’s knowledge and experiences in just transitions.