Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Making sense of jobs in South Africa’s just energy transition: Managing the impact of a coal transition on employment

  • Year: 2021
  • Author(s): Lauren Hermanus (Adapt), Gaylor Montmasson-Clair (TIPS)

As the reality of a coal transition and coal power decommissioning draw nearer, South Africa’s just transition plan is both urgent and glaringly absent. There is a pressing need to manage the impacts of the transition on workers and local economic development, particularly in coal-dependent regions and affected communities. A credible fact base is required, from which to make appropriate and broadly supported decisions. In this conceptual clearing, several specific political consensuses must be brokered to enable policy design and implementation as well as investment for a green and just transition. This policy brief speaks to the current policy vacuum, proposing steps to address it. First, it considers the implications of the coal transition for employment in South Africa, with reference to national policy and available research. It then seeks to characterise the key issues, points of contestation, and the current just transition/ employment policy vacuum. Finally, recommendations for the facilitation of shared understanding and consensus-building are outlined.

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