Overview of available publications:

  1. Synthesis report of the Coal Transition project, September 2018
  2. Coal Transition in China National Report, September 2018
  3. Coal Transition in India National Report, September 2018
  4. Coal Transition in South Africa National Report, September 2018
  5. Coal Transition in Australia National Report, September 2018
  6. Coal Transition in Poland National Report, September 2018
  7. Coal Transition in Germany National Report, September 2018
  8. Modelling of the global steam coal trade under future coal demand scenarios, September 2018
  9. An Historical Case Study on Previous Coal Transitions in Germany, July 2018
  10. Transition Policy for Climate Change Mitigation: Who, What, Why and How, May 2018
  11. Coal Taxes as Supply – Side Climate Policy: A Rationale For Major Exporters?, May 2017
  12. Strengthening National Coal Transitions to Raise Climate Ambition, November 2017
  13. Transitioning Beyond Coal: Lessons from the Structural Renewal of Europe’s Old Industrial Regions, November 2017
  14. Prospects for a “Just Transition” Away from Coal-Fired Power Generation in Australia, November 2017
  15. Coal Transitions in China’s Power Sector: A Plant-Level Assessment of Stranded Assets and Retirement Pathways, November 2017
  16. Lessons from Previous Coal Transitions, Synthesis Report, 2017
  17. Country Case Study – Czech Republic, 2017
  18. Country Case Study – Spain, 2017
  19. Country Case Study – Poland, 2017
  20. Country Case Study – The Netherlands, 2017
  21. Country Case Study – the United Kingdom, 2017
  22. Country Case Study – the United States, 2017

Download all Coal Transitions Project reports below:

Pathways to “below 2°C” coal transitions in major coal-using economies

a. Synthesis report of the Coal Transition project

This report summarises the main insights from Coal Transitions research project. Firstly, it outlines the growing momentum behind coal transitions around the world, due to economic, technological and policy factors. Secondly, the report highlights key findings from case studies of six major coal-consuming countries (China, India, Poland, Germany, Australia and South Africa), which explore how “below-2°C”-compatible transitions away from thermal coal could be implemented. The report notes that, with the right policies, coal transitions that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement can be done in an economically affordable and socially acceptable way.

Coal Transitions Synthesis Report (English), Author: O. Sartor, IDDRI, Download

Kurzfassung auf Deutsch Download

Press release  Download

Project Info-graphic Download


b. National reports on pathways for “below-2°C” coal transitions

Under the Coal Transitions project, national experts in China, India, South Africa, Poland, Australia and Germany explored options for their countries to implement economically feasible and socially acceptable coal transition strategies that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. Their reports are available below:

                                                               i.      Coal Transition in China

This report explores pathways, implications and policy options for going beyond China’s existing cap on coal use. The report explores in particular options for an 2°C-compatible “early peaking” scenario for Chinese emissions that would see the share of thermal coal in the Chinese energy system decline steadily from 2020 out to a minimal amount in 2050.

Author: Teng Fei


                                                             ii.      Coal Transition in India

This report explores pathways, implications and policy options to prepare the Indian coal and energy sectors for a peak and decline in the role of coal during the next decades.

Authors: Saritha S. Vishwanathan, Amit Garg,  Vineet Tiwari


                                                           iii.      Coal Transition in South Africa

This report explores pathways, implications and policy options of for a full phase out of South Africa’s aging coal power infrastructure during the next decades. It also highlights issues of employment, economic development and social cohesion linked to the future of South Africa’s coal production and export industry.

Authors: Jesse Burton, Tara Caetano, Bryce McCall 


                                                           iv.      Coal Transition in Australia

This report explores pathways, implications and policy options for Australia to move beyond domestic coal use during the next 2 decades, as its old coal plant fleet continues to age and renewable energy becomes more competitive. It also highlights the need to prepare for growing downside risks to its coal export sector as market fundamentals shift in the Asia-Pacific region.

Authors: Frank Jotzo, Salim Mazouz, John Wiseman


                                                             v.      Coal Transition in Poland

This report explores pathways, implications and policy options for Poland to significantly phase down its domestic coal use by 2050. It highlights the opportunities presented by the current economic and labour market context around coal mining in Poland to make a relatively timely shift into alternative energy sources and economic activities.

Authors: Jan Baran, Piotr Lewandowski Aleksander Szpor, Jan Witajewski-Baltvilks


                                                           vi.      Coal Transition in Germany

This report explores pathways and implications for Germany to phase out its domestic coal use by 2050. It highlights lessons from previous German coal transitions in both the former West and East Germany to support the current debate on when and how Germany should achieve an exit from thermal coal.

Authors: Hanna Brauers Philipp Herpich Christian von Hirschhausen Ingmar Jürgens Karsten Neuhoff Pao-Yu Oei Jörn Richstein


c. Modelling of the global steam coal trade under future coal demand scenarios

As an internationally traded commodity, the global market for steam coal can be strongly affected by unexpected policy developments in major coal-importing countries, like China, India, or Japan. This report looks at a range of factors that could shift the future fundamentals of the global steam coal market over the next 10-15 years as coal transitions gather speed for different reasons. Using insights from DIW Berlin’s COALMOD-World coal market model, it highlights some of the growing risks faced by major coal exporters.

Authors: Franziska Holz (DIW Berlin), Ivo Valentin Kafemann (DIW Berlin), Oliver Sartor (IDDRI), Tim Scherwath (DIW Berlin), Thomas Spencer (TERI, IDDRI)


Past Coal Transitions Publications:

Subsidies for German hard coal production will end in 2018, resulting in a final shutdown of domestic hard coal production. This paper looks back at the 60 years of steady decline and transition of an industry that once employed more than 700,000 people. One focus of the historic case study therefore lies on the Ruhr area – Germany’s largest hard coal mining area that was hit by this economically driven transition. The second focus lies on the politically driven reduction of lignite production in Eastern Germany due to the reunification in 1990.

The analysis is hereby divided into the quantitative consideration of the significance of coal for the energy system and the regional economies, as well as an evaluation of implemented political instruments accompanying the reductions in the coal sector. This analysis of past transitions of mining areas and energy systems in Germany might, however, provide other countries and regions with valuable lessons of how to structure their upcoming coal phase-out period and therefore provides a useful addition to the existing literature.

2018 Historical Coal Transitions in Germany Report * – Download

*An errata was corrected in this version compared to the first version published on 13th July 2018

In the face of this increasing demand for “transition policy”, policymakers require expert guidance on how to develop coherent and desirable transition policy packages. Yet there is a dearth of policy-focused academic literature on this topic.

This paper aims to provide a foundation for filling this gap. It first provides a definition of transition policy, identifying its key parameters. It then explores possible values of these parameters, resulting in an original map of the “logical space” of transition policy: the possible combinations of policy objectives, policy scope, and target actors that transition policy could encompass. To move from the possible to the desirable, the paper finally suggests three criteria for normatively evaluating transition policies: fairness; political transformation potential; and expected effectiveness.


2018 Transition Policy Report – Download

This report presents the main economic facts on the role of coal in the Polish economy, and analyses the implications of the transition away from coal for coal consumption and coal mining employment in Poland. Poland’s energy mix relies on coal, most of which is domestically produced. This paper argue that issues related to job creation and the cushioning of negative shocks for workers are key for the phasing out of coal in Poland, especially at the regional and local levels.

The simulations show that achieving the Paris Agreement target is feasible in Poland provided hard coal consumption is cut by 20% between 2015 and 2030, and by 55% between 2015 and 2050.

2018 Coal Sector Transition in Poland Report – Download


This paper focuses on coal taxes, investigating both the incentives for implementation and the impacts of withholding supply. Specifically, it considers hypothetical taxes on the export or production of steam coal that are levied by Australia, the world’s second largest steam coal exporter, or alternatively by a coalition of major exporters.  It reflects on the effects of coal taxes on CO2 emissions from steam coal, tax revenues, and shifts in the global patterns of consumption, production, and trade of steam coal

2017 Coal taxes as supply-side climate policy [PDF – 891 KB] Download 


Multiple environmental, economic and political drivers have caused the coal transitions issue to become a key climate policy discussion topic, leading to a call for an assurance of “just transition”. Thus, this paper discusses the need for governments to raise their overall ambitions and nationally determined contributions (NDCs) towards coal transitions and reflects on how they should do it so that it is just for all stakeholders—especially coal sector workers and their communities—whose economic livelihoods depend on the future of an industry that will be in decline.

2017 Raise Climate Ambition Report  [PDF – 891 KB] Download 


It is often assumed that a transition to a low-carbon future will have highly disruptive and potentially devastating effects on coal regions and their communities. However, evidence from the experience of industrial decline and attempted renewal in Europe’s old industrial regions demonstrates that successful regional transition is—while not inevitable—indeed possible.  Drawing on the literature of regional resilience and innovation, the paper offers lessons, insights and cautionary warnings from the experience of renewal initiatives in Europe’s old industrial regions and illustrates the ways in which some of the seeds for a ‘just’ regional transitions to zero-carbon economies may, in fact, lie in a careful understanding of the potential to build on the specific historical context of the regions industrial development and capabilities.

2017 Industrial Transitions [PDF – 998 KB] Download 


Learning from the closure of the Hazelwood Power Station

This recent “case study has demonstrated that the positions of key civil society stakeholders in Australia’s energy debate, including unions, environment groups and to some extent business groups have been converging toward a “just”—or at least an orderly—transition as a dominant political narrative for substantive policies to improve the transition arrangements in the Australian energy sector. Strengthening and perhaps formalising these alliances will improve the incentives for political parties to invest in long-term policies in the energy sector.”

2017 Hazelwood Power Station [PDF – 998 KB] Download


This paper addresses the following questions:

  • Under plausible scenarios for the development of the demand/supply balance, load factors, and generation margins, what is the profitability of Chinese coal-fired power plants and the scale of potential asset stranding?
  • What policies could be deployed to limit the political economy frictions of power sector transition in China?
  • What would be the potential economic retirement schedule of Chinese coal-fired power plants, given the modelled investment costs, load factors, and margins? Put more simply, how quickly could China get out of coal power?

2017 Coal Transitions in China [PDF – 713 KB] Download 


The stabilisation of the climate system in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change is impossible without the timely phase out of unabated coal from the global energy system. As is increasingly recognised, this transition must also be “just” for workers and local communities. The Coal Transitions report inform the future of coal producing regions, highlighting key lessons from previous coal transitions, in the Netherlands, UK, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and the US


 2017 Synthesis Report  [PDF – 990 KB] Download 


Czech Republic [PDF – 1,131 KB] Download 

Spain [PDF – 1,276 KB] Download 

Poland  [PDF – 1,276 KB] Download 

The Netherlands [PDF – 927 KB] Download 

The United Kingdom  [PDF – 842 KB] Download 

The United States [PDF – 990 KB] Download 


Download the most important messages of the project.

SPECIAL Report  – The 1.5°C target and coal sector transition: at the limits of societal feasibility