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Just Transition – Investments for decent jobs in a low-carbon society


04 Dec 2017


Maison des Associations Internationales
Rue Washington 40
1050  Brussels


Sustainable Dev.
Climate & Environment

Event Location


Event Description

Languages: German, English, French, Spanish, Polish

Currently, the European Parliament and the Council negotiate the so-called 'winter package' which will change existing legislation in the field of energy efficiency, renewable energy support schemes, the electricity market design and the energy performance of buildings. Unfortunately, the political negotiations on the 'winter package' show that it will be difficult to achieve binding targets for the deployment of renewable energy, for ambitious energy efficiency measures, for a phase-out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Besides, the expectations for COP23 are progress on pre-2020 commitments and progress on the work programme to implement the Paris Agreement. But the current commitments under the Paris Agreement are not sufficient to limit global warming well below 2 degrees - the UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2015 showed that a mitigation gap of 14 GtCO2 exists for 2030. The member states need to ratch up their national commitments and change their long-term national climate and energy policy plans to ensure a much faster growth of renewable energy deployment, fostering energy efficiency measures, a just transition in the sectors of energy generation, transport and agriculture, and the phase-out of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

What is more: The European Union not only faces a climate crisis, but a deep social crisis, caused by economic slump, shrinking domestic demand, shrinking public demand, neglect of public investment, the focus on austerity and, as a consequence, high rates of unemployment in a lot of member states. Europe is now recovering with slow growth and unemployment is gradually falling. But recession followed by tentative recovery is no cause for celebration. We need to respond with concrete solutions to ensure economic cohesion and sustainable, economic development in the European Union. We need investment for sustainable growth and quality job creation, quality public services, just transition towards a low-carbon economy, and the creation of decent work. In the preamble of the Paris agreement there is a clear reference to just transition: countries have committed to base their de-carbonisation strategies on concepts of just transition and on decent work. 

We need a progressive industrial and investment policy geared towards a strong growth of renewable energy generation, ambitious energy savings and energy efficiency measures, sector coupling, just transition in the sectors of energy, transport and agriculture, and grid enhancement - we need a progressive industrial revolution!

We will invite politicians coming from coal regions such as Spain, Poland and Germany, trade unionists, climate activists and the European Commission to discuss the following questions:

- How to strengthen the political discourse demanding investment for sustainable growth, just transition and social-ecological transformation?

- How can 'decent climate jobs campaigns' support this goal?

- How can decent climate jobs be created in the manufacturing and service sector?

- How to finance such a progressive investment programme targeted at a just transition?

- How to support the phase- out of coal?

- How to win the support of trade unions and workers in coal regions?

- How to assess the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement?

- What needs to be done in terms of climate and energy policy, at global, European, national, regional and local level?

- Which are best practices at local and regional level?

- How to involve local and regional stakeholders?


We are looking forward to welcoming you at our conference!



Link to the video of the first conference on “Just Transition” on 5 December 2016

Reader of the first conference on “Just Transition” on 5 December 2016 (pdf)


Please find the programme attached and online here.


10.00 - 10.15
Welcoming words and introduction

Cornelia Ernst, Member of European Parliament, GUE/NGL, Die Linke

Martin Schirdewan, Member of European Parliament, GUE/NGL, Die Linke, former Director of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels

Maxime Benatouil, transform!, Co-Director


10.15 - 11.45
Session 1: European trade unions-led climate jobs’ campaigns and massive investment plans for another Europe

Facilitation: Maxime Benatouil, transform!, Co-Director


- Julien Rivoire, Fédération Syndicale Unitaire, FSU, Trade Union, France

- Sam Mason, Public and Commercial Services Union, PCS, Trade Union, United Kingdom

- Benjamin Denis, European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC, Brussels

- Fabienne Grébert, Regional Counsellor, France



11.45 - 13.15
Session 2: What instruments do we need to fund a just transition?

Facilitation: Cornelia Ernst (MEP, GUE/NGL, Die Linke)


- Marco Boehme, DIE LINKE., Member of regional parliament Saxony, Germany (tbc)

- Aleksandra Tomczak, European Commission, DG Energy, policy coordinator for EU coal

- Mayor Sophia Ciercoles, Andorra, Teruel, Spain (tbc)

- Mayor Janusz Piechocki, Margonin, Poland (tbc)



13.15 – 14.00
Lunch Break


14.00 – 15.30
Session 3: Best practices of Just Transition

Facilitation: Jean-Claude Simon, transform!


- Yasmina Sánchez Oussedik, Fundació l’Alternativa, Catalunya

- Representative of City of Berkeley, California, United States of America (tbc)

- Olivier Soria, Lacanau municipal counsellor, Parti de Gauche



15.30 - 16.00
Coffee Break


16.00 - 17.30
Session 4: From COP21 to COP23, a critical assessment

Facilitation: Claus-Dieter König, Deputy Director Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels


- Steffen Kühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin, Germany

- Frederik Moch, DGB, German Trade Union Confederation, Head of Department on Industrial- and Structural Policy

- Molly Walsh, Friends of the Earth Europe, Brussels

- Representative of the Danish Red-Green Alliance (tbc)

Discussion and concluding discussion


Cornelia Ernst

Member of European Parliament

Substitute Member of committee for industry, research and energy

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