The right government local action using local knowledge can provide local opportunities that are more attractive than continuing the lethal coal industry pushing us toward extinction
As the world shifts to renewable energy, helping the communities that have depended on fossil fuels for jobs is becoming ever more pressing.
The 2015 Paris Agreement notes the imperative of a “just transition” for affected workforces, with “the creation of decent work and quality jobs” to replace those lost.
Trade unionists have been arguing this point for at least several decades. The first use of the phrase “just transition” attributed to the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, which called for a “Just Transition Program” for workers in the logging industry in 1996.
Yet for all the talk since, action remains scarce.
Three clear priorities for policy makers, however, have emerged from Australia’s Hunter Valley region, where coal mines employ about 14,000 workers directly and thousands more indirectly. These are:
- the need for a local coordinating authority
- funding for a “flagship” job-creation project, and
- more resources for technical and vocational education.