Patterns and dynamics of structural change

Lessons from four diverse case studies of coal and carbon-intensive regions in transition | March 2024


The process of transition from carbon-intensive regions is complex and multi-layered. The CINTRAN research project systematically assessed the processes on the ground in highly affected coal and carbon-intensive regions across Europe with a particular focus on analysing the socio-economic, sociopolitical and socio-demographic dimensions and with special attention to the impact of the transition on equity.
We studied just transition processes in four diverse regions with one key commonality. All of them are highly carbon-intensive and their economic structure is highly dependent on fossil fuel extractive industries: Ida-Virumaa in Estonia, Western Macedonia in Greece, Silesia in Poland and the Rhineland in Germany. 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.


  • Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy