"Just Transition" is a concept developed by trade unions to emphasise the need for an ecologically and socially sustainable decarbonisation. In this master thesis, the concept is applied to the lignite phase-out in Germany. The success of transition depends on whether it is perceived as just. The disadvantaged groups in the process of structural change must be given a perspective in order to achieve acceptance for structural change.
The thesis develops policy measures for a "Just Transition" governance based on a case study conducted in the Rhenish lignite mining area. Methodologically, the application of semi-structured guided interviews was chosen. Six expert-interviews were conducted with citizens-initiatives, trade unions and representatives of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The results reveal the need for policy measures in different areas, for example: While a variation of policies with numerous support measures are about to be established for employees of the incumbent companies of in the lignite industry, there are barely any for employees working for subcontractors. Therefore, the latter are at high risk of losing their jobs due to the coal phase-out. Also, the interviews showed that land is about to become a scarce resource in the Rhenish lignite area. As a result of the lignite mining operations in the region, a large part of the land is owned by the energy provider RWE which has obtained the land through expropriation under mining law. If the land is not given back to the local authorities, an independent economic reorientation of the region after the coal phase-out will be more difficult.
The framework of the actor-centered institutionalism is used to derive corresponding governance approaches. The paper shows firstly, how a distribution of resources necessary for participation will enhance the governance to be more in line with the "Just Transition" approach of structural change and secondly, why an integrative regional concept by the federal state should be preferred over mere economical support for the region.
Die Governance des Gerechten Strukturwandels
Empirische Untersuchung im Rheinischen Braunkohlerevier und Konzeptualisierung
Wuppertal 2020, ISBN 978-3-946356-18-9
(Wuppertaler Studienarbeiten zur nachhaltigen Entwicklung no. 21)