The India Just Transition Centre (IJTC), a iFOREST initiative, is being set-up as a platform to work comprehensively on just transition through multi-stakeholder engagement.
At the launch of the initiative, the organisation suggested that workers and local communities dependent on the fossil-fuel industry for income and livelihood support should not bear the brunt of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
‘Just Transition’ ensures that the workers and the local communities dependent on fossil fuels like coal do not suffer due to the phase-out of coal to meet the climate change goals listed under the Paris Climate Agreement. It ensures decent work opportunities and social support systems for the people whose livelihood is likely to be affected by the energy transition.
As per iFOREST, at least 21.5 million workers are currently engaged in fossil-fuel and fossil fuel dependent industries; they will need job replacement and reskilling.
Its inaugural virtual session was attended, among others, by MPs Jairam Ramesh and Jayant Sinha and Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Coal, Vinod Kumar Tewari.
At the event a new report titled ‘Five Rs: A cross-sectoral landscape of Just Transition in India’ was also released.
Speaking at the event, Ramesh emphasised on the need to create capacity in India on just transition.
“There is need to create independent research capacity which will be the base for advocacy and eventually a larger policy change. The IJTC will have an important role in creating this capacity and bringing the expertise together,” he said.
The 2015 Paris Agreement has made just transition an important part of the climate change agenda. Just transition has been gaining momentum worldwide.
Developed countries are building capacity and knowledge on how to implement a just energy transition roadmap to meet net-zero targets.
Sinha, who is from the Hazaribagh constituency, which is a key coal district of Jharkhand, emphasised the need to start planning for a just transition in coal mining areas.
“Phasing out coal over the next two to three decades is essential to meet climate goals. The planning for this must start now. The IJTC will play an important role in bridging the gap between state and national policy and the ground realities,” said Sinha.
Presenting the vision of IJTC, Chandra Bhushan, CEO of iFOREST, said, “The IJTC will be a platform to bring stakeholders together to work on various aspects of just transition in India. Envisioned as a centre of excellence, the IJTC will provide thought leadership, support policies and planning, provide technical support, promote best practices, and build capacity of various stakeholders.”
The IJTC is planning to launch a resource centre for just transition in the coming months.
Coal India Limited (CIL) has also started investing in renewable energy. In April, the company had announced establishing two wholly-owned subsidiaries- CIL Solar PV and CIL Navikarniya Urja Ltd – for undertaking solar PV manufacturing and renewable energy projects.
Experts say that India has major challenges of just transition with three-fourth of the country’s primary energy need being met by fossil fuels.
Also, there are 120 districts that are significantly dependent on fossil fuels and related industries for revenue and livelihood. At least 20 million workers, a large majority of them being informal, are dependent on fossil fuel and related sectors.