Fostering a just transition in Europe

1000000 €

Projects are expected to contribute to one or several of the following outcomes:

  • A better understanding of the distributional repercussions of the transition to climate neutrality across sectors, social groups, countries, regions, cities, and in the labour market that will help implement the commitment to “leaving nobody behind”.
  • A better understanding of the trade-offs and synergies between climate action, climate-change impacts and equity and justice considerations, such as social inequality, gender equalities, as well as their interaction with other transformations that underpin the transition to climate neutrality.
  • Addressing procedural justice concerns in the transition to carbon neutrality, via deeper and more consequential involvement of stakeholders from all parts of society in the transition process, for instance via co-design and co-production processes, social innovations, citizen science, user-led innovation type activities, or upstream multi-stakeholder debates or mechanisms for citizen deliberation and engagement.
  • New scientific evidence to inform EU, national and regional policies in designing inclusive, socially fair, gender-sensitive and economically viable transition plans and post-COVID recovery packages that take due care of the most affected regions, cities, sectors and parts of society, including vulnerable individuals and households.
  • Increased societal and political acceptance for climate transition strategies, including renewable energy projects and more sustainable mobility concepts, based on greater involvement of those most affected, leading to better capacity for co-designing policy frameworks that enhance inclusiveness while minimising adverse distributional effects and inequalities.
  • Improved insights into socio-economic and socio-political barriers that impede a just transition towards climate neutrality and identification of strategies to overcome these barriers on different temporal and spatial scales across Europe.

Actions should enhance the understanding of the challenges of the “just transition” to climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable economies and societies, as envisaged in the European Green Deal and Next Generation EU. They should analyse various dimensions of inequality arising from climate change impacts, climate policies and transition pathways including their distributional implications associated with changes in GDP, industrial competitiveness and trade, employment and skills, taxation, incomes and wealth, vulnerabilities and human health, structure of sectors, business models and relative prices etc. Further equity aspects associated with climate change impacts and climate policy, such as differential vulnerabilities as well as intergenerational fairness or justice should also be studied, taking into consideration social and geographic circumstances and paying due attention to most vulnerable parts of the society (poor, elderly, persons with disabilities, children, migrants etc.). The gender dimension should also be explored. Research should integrate learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the evolution of inequality in Europe and analyse potential implications for climate action and green recovery.

Actions should identify policy options and measures that combine climate and environmental benefits with intra- and intergenerational justice, e.g. by a reduction of poverty and inequality across different sectors of society, as well as within and between countries and regions. They should explore links between and combinations of climate-focused policies and social, taxation, employment and other relevant measures. Recommendations as to the most effective levers for enacting an inclusive, fair and just ecological transition should be formulated.

Beyond climate action, links to Sustainable Development Goals should be considered as many of them are centred on reducing poverty, inequality and meeting basic human needs.

Improving tools and methodologies for addressing intra- and intergenerational equity, equality and justice concerns in the context of the transition to climate neutrality is part of the action’s scope, but should take into account the work by projects in other parts of the work programme, notably those addressing the improvement of Integrated Assessment Models under Destination 1 on Climate Science. Research should comprise a strong empirical component, including field experiments, and meaningfully involve stakeholders to collect evidence, test proposals and discuss relevant issues.

Actions are expected to mobilise and build on the knowledge from across a broad range of social sciences (including behavioural science, political science, sociology, economics, law, gender studies etc.) and humanities and involve all parts of the quadruple helix (public bodies, industry/SMEs, social partners, academia/research, citizens/civil society) in a meaningful transdisciplinary manner and across activities[1]. Synergies with the topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01-15 on Transition Super-Labs should be explored, given that equity and fairness considerations will play a very important role in that context, too.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities
Societal Engagement
Social Innovation

[1]Projects focused on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) may be particularly relevant in this regard; a large number of these can be found in the Science with and for Society part of Horizon 2020: