Publications

Download all Coal Transitions Project reports

Upcoming Coal Transition Reports:

September 2018: Country reports on feasible pathways for a just coal transition for case study countries (Australia, China, India, Poland, Germany and South Africa)

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.

Transition Policy Report

2018 Transition Policy 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 Raise Climate Ambition Report  [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 

V. TRANSITIONING BEYOND COAL: LESSONS FROM THE STRUCTURAL RENEWAL OF EUROPE’S OLD INDUSTRIAL REGIONS

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 

VI. PROSPECTS FOR A “JUST TRANSITION” AWAY FROM COAL-FIRED POWER GENERATION IN AUSTRALIA

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

VII. COAL TRANSITIONS IN CHINA’S POWER SECTOR: A PLANT-LEVEL ASSESSMENT OF STRANDED ASSETS AND RETIREMENT PATHWAYS

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 

VIII. LESSONS FROM PREVIOUS COAL TRANSITIONS

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

SYNTHESIS REPORT

 2017 Synthesis Report  [PDF – 990 KB] Download 

COUNTRY CASE STUDIES

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 

PRESS SUMMARY

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