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Just Transition study: Lusatia can learn from the experience of other coal regions

Lusatia is not alone when it comes to facing the challenges that are coupled with the structural change. Other regions have and have had to develop further strategies for the post-coal era. The Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM) and “WindNODE - showcasing smart energy systems from north-eastern Germany” searches for those factors that contribute to a successful and fair transformation in their Just Transition study. Following today’s launch of the project website, the first regional profiles and information regarding the study were therefore published.

Zerre im Spreetal (Quelle: Wikimedia/Gunter Tschuch, CC BY-SA 4.0.)

In the past months, IKEM scientists carried out regional case studies and held many stakeholder interviews relating to transformation processes worldwide. Based on these findings, general success factors for a just transition will be determined, which can later contribute to the enhancement of a roadmap for Lusatia.

As a first step, the regional profiles of coal regions in Greece, France, the USA and Germany as well as information about the course and objectives of the study are available to view at www.justtransition.ikem.de. With the website, IKEM and WindNODE want to communicate information on the just transition concept in an illustrative manner and in layman’s terms, whilst also creating a platform for international exchange between coal regions.

A first comparison of the regional profiles shows that they are and have all been facing similar ecological, social and economic challenges despite the difference in regional circumstances. The regions that started the transformation process early and with resolve, are better off today than the others. A few examples are Loos-en-Gohelle in France and Pueblo, Colorado, in the USA. The study aims to provide insight into which factors were responsible for this in each individual case. The final results are expected in 2021.

Dr Klaus Freytag, Lusatia representative of the state of Brandenburg: “Now that the structural reinforcement act has been passed, Lusatia has the opportunity to proactively organise the structural change that awaits. We have to see the transformation as a process that will constantly change over time and that will be characterised by regional learning effects. Identifying success factors from other regions helps establish targeted support and sponsorship offers for the region. That is why we wait in anticipation the results of the international comparison.”

Simon Schäfer-Stradowsky, Head of IKEM: “The coal exit is a phenomenal task for Lusatia. With the Just Transition study, we want to look beyond the horizon. It shows that other coal mining regions also achieved what Lusatia is currently undergoing. Our study should provide insight into which factors were decisive. The findings can be integrated into strategies for structural change regions such as Lusatia”

Markus Graebig, Senior Project Manager of WindNODE: “Not only in Germany, but in the rest of Europe and the world, former coal regions are confronted with radical changes. We should learn from one another and be inspired by best practices from the transformation, as the decarbonisation demanded by climate policy is also an industrial opportunity for renewal. With this in mind, IKEM and WindNODE hosted the first Lusatia Conference in Schwarze Pumpe together with Minister-President Woidke on 09/09/2019, which our study now follows up on. We hope to make Lusatia a winner of the structural change and a model region for a fair transition with worldwide renown.”

The German Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility researches the most fundamental questions surrounding the energy and mobility transition. It analyses, assesses and develops new and innovative strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It mainly focusses on the correlations between climate protection, legislation, economy and politics. IKEM is one of the main initiators of the Lusatian hydrogen region.

More information can be found at www.ikem.de.

Press release by IKEM

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