Finding a common understanding of Just Transition

The stakeholders perspective

One of the guiding principles af AdJUST is to embed stakeholder engagement and co-production across the project, from building a shared vision for a just transition to ensuring results have widespread and significant positive impact.
Stakeholder engagement represents an integral part of the AdJUST research activities, and also contributes to the dissemination and exploitation of results. Stakeholders will be engaged throughout the lifetime of the project through co-design of research and relevance of results.

The stakeholders engagement

AdJUST relies on the systematic and continuous involvement of stakeholders to

  • co-create and shape the research process
  • increase the feasibility and acceptability of proposed policy options, and
  • enhance project impact through targeted dissemination of research results.

Stakeholder involvement is pursued in three ways.

First, AdJUST brings to the table numerous associated partners spanning EU, national and subnational levels and representing all elements of the quadruple helix. Associated Partners will contribute from the outset to the research design and questions.

Second, AdJUST will exploit synergies with and build on available results and networks from ongoing projects—particularly the ARIADNE project in Germany —to embed stakeholders perspective into the project’s research.

Third, AdJUST will organize participatory stakeholder workshops in Romania and Spain, which face significant challenges related to the distributional impacts of the transition. The insights gained from this interaction (which will include associated partners) will ensure that the new tools and approaches (including modelling) and policy-relevant insights generated by AdJUST are informed by a comprehensive consideration of stakeholders’ perspective on Just Transition policies. The active involvement of stakeholders will also ensure the exploitation of research results across different user communities (citizens, businesses, public bodies, the scientific community) by translating them into accessible and policy-relevant outputs in a variety of succinct written and visual formats (e.g. briefs, webinars), and through carefully designed actions to make such outputs transparent, verifiable and easily available to others. 

AdJUST will involve stakeholders in discussions of the distributional impacts of unmitigated climate change and the potential distributional impacts of climate change policies with the goal of identifying acceptable potential transitional assistance measures. It engages Associated Partners and other stakeholders to develop country-specific visions of a Just Transition, and elaborate ideas on context-specific measures and procedural reforms to advance these visions, spanning different policy areas (e.g., industrial policy, social policy, taxation). Those measures include, but are not limited to, policies, instruments and measures already included in the EU Packages and, more broadly, EU cohesion policy.

Building on ARIADNE

In the case of Germany, AdJUST will not carry out independent workshops because this country has seen a flurry of engagement activities around the energy transition, including on aspects related to justice. Recently, the German government funded a major project on these very same topics (ARIADNE), including extensive stakeholder interaction. ARIADNE engages with all major stakeholders in Germany to examine acceptance of climate policy on various levels. Starting from a rather narrow understanding (“willingness to pay”), it also includes the question of “social acceptance” and the question of how citizens can be involved more closely in decision-making processes (“social sponsorship”). Given the significantly bigger resources available to ARIADNE and its existing network of engaged stakeholders, AdJUST activities will build on rather than duplicate ARIADNE’s efforts. AdJUST will be able to fully incorporate the results and experiences of ARIADNE for Germany because MCC is a key partner in both projects. MCC will draw on a wide spectrum of analyses that are conducted in the German context, ranging from a panel survey on the heating transition, through surveys on the social dimensions of the transformation processes with the help of the social sustainability barometer, to a very complex citizen deliberation in the field of electricity transition and traffic transition with randomly selected citizens. These diverse findings on the topic of acceptance in Germany will be harmonized with the analysis framework and workflow in AdJUST to inform project research. If needed, and in coordination with ARIADNE’s activities, selected stakeholders will be contacted and interviewed to gather any additional input needed to tailor ARIADNE results to the specific research needs of AdJUST.

First Workshop in Madrid

25 experts from various policy fields to address the topic of Just Energy Transition

On June 13, 2023, the first Adjust Stakeholder Workshop in Madrid brought together 25 experts from various policy fields to address the topic of Just Energy Transition. Organized jointly by the BC3 – Basque Centre for Climate Change and ÖFSE – Austrian Foundation for Development Research, the workshop focused on devising measures for transitioning to renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time addressing energy poverty.

The diverse group of experts, coming from different backgrounds, collaborated throughout the day to develop a shared vision for achieving a Just Energy Transition in Spain. With special attention to vulnerable groups, the participants crafted specific policy packages aligned with the previously defined vision, following a structured approach called the 3-Horizon Approach:

  1. Analyzing the Current Situation: The workshop began by conducting an analysis of the existing energy landscape and identifying key challenges faced by communities in Spain.
  2. Creating Visions for the Future: Building upon the insights from the analysis, the experts embarked on envisioning a future powered by renewable energy, with a focus on fostering environmental sustainability and social equity.
  3. Developing Actionable Measures: With the visions taking shape, the team set out to design concrete and actionable measures that would pave the way towards realizing the proposed energy transition.

To foster empathy and a deep understanding of the real-world impact of energy poverty, the team employed an innovative strategy—creating “personas” representing typical families affected by energy poverty or vulnerability. By putting themselves in the shoes of these families, the participants developed sustainable solutions tailored to their unique needs and circumstances.

A focal point of the workshop was the discussion around the Social Climate Fund, a crucial financing tool of the European Union. The fund aims to ensure that the energy transition leaves no one behind, especially vulnerable communities. In the spirit of collaboration, the workshop culminated in the preparation of a joint declaration outlining the main priorities that should be incorporated into the future Social Climate Plan.

At the end of the long and fruitful day, the team invited participants to convey their feelings in a single word. Some sentiments shared were: motivation, hope, collaboration and inspiration. The BC3 and ÖFSE team are grateful for the dedication, expertise, and enthusiasm demonstrated by each individual present.

In early July, the team presented and discussed the workshop’s results with a group of 9 citizens who were part of the Spanish Climate Citizen Assembly, seeking their comments and feedback on the implementation of the proposed policy packages. In the coming months, the team will process the workshop’s outcomes into tangible actions as part of the ADJUST Project.