Markets - 15/July/2019

Underwriting a just transition

The finance sector will play a crucial role in the clean energy transition and has a strong incentive to get involved

It is increasingly apparent that failing to support workers and communities on the losing side of the low-carbon transition will not only be unjust, it may derail the whole process. Decisions need to be made about where the money will come from to finance retraining for new jobs and provide social safety nets while the transition takes place


Political obstacle: The people most likely to lose from the transition to a low-carbon economy are proving their political force and potential to block climate action

Funding change: Significant finance is needed to pay for a “just transition” in all economic sectors, not just coal. Investors are starting to look into the issue

Key quote: The question is where the will come from money come from to support a just transition. What are the options? Is it cash from taxpayers? Consumers on their energy bills? Business? Given the state of current government spending and the difficulty of adding money to energy bills, it is going to be business that are bringing forward significant amounts of investment.


The gilet jaune protests in France, the re-election of a climate-sceptic government in Australia and the strong support for Donald Trump across America’s coal states prove that the likely losers from the low-carbon transition represent a potent political force — and a formidable potential obstacle to tackling climate change.

This realisation has triggered a growing discussion in policy and trade union circles about a “just transition” that seeks to protect the workers and communities threatened by decarbonisation, by providing retraining, new sources of employment and social safety nets. Debate about the role of the financial sector in understanding the associated risks, and investing in the solutions required, has, however, lagged behind ...

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