Just Transition or Just a Transition?: The Importance of Power, Organizing, and Framing in Decarbonization

Urban Planning and Public Policy Colloquium with J. Mijin Cha
Mon, 02/12/2024 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Social Ecology I, Room 215

While a rapid and dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there will be negative socio-economic consequences for workers and communities in fossil fuel regions in addition to the ongoing pollution from fossil activity that is disproportionately borne by marginalized communities. Addressing and mitigating these consequences is not incompatible with an equitable energy transition, yet a just energy transition is far from guaranteed. Who and what is covered by "just transition" is increasingly unclear as the term becomes popularized and co-opted. This seminar will explore what is meant by "just transition," the importance of "just," and how to advance a just energy transition.

J. Mijin Cha is an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a fellow at the Climate Jobs Institute, Cornell University where she works on the Labor Leading on Climate initiative. Dr. Cha’s research focuses on labor/climate coalitions and just transitions. She is a part of the Just Transition Listening Project research team, which was the first effort of its kind to interview over 100 individuals on their experience with industrial transition. She also developed a novel governance framework for developing just transition policies and conducted a four-state study of just transition and progressive power at the state level. Dr. Cha is on the board of Greenpeace USA Fund and the emeritus board at the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment. She is also a member of the California Bar.