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CINTRAN project launches inventory of decarbonisation coping strategies and welcomes submissions from the general public

  • News 06.08.2021

Regions that economically depend on fossil fuel extraction or energy-intensive industries will be disproportionately affected by the decarbonisation of industry and the economy. For example, decarbonisation may result in the loss of numerous jobs, impoverishment and outward migration of people.

The Wuppertal Institute-led "Carbon Intensive Regions in Transition – Unravelling the Challenges of Structural Change" (CINTRAN) project has launched a global inventory of the coping strategies that people, organisations and institutions (such as workers in coal mining, their companies and local governments) are using to respond to the pressures introduced by global decarbonisation efforts. The researchers classified the strategies being used into three types:

  • Resistance strategies seek to preserve current conditions and resist drivers of change. They include lobbying, protest rallies, petitions etc directed to governments asking them to stop the decarbonisation activity or protect those affected by it.
  • Adaptation strategies attempt to protect the functioning of the existing system from substantial change. They include attempts to transform incrementally or avoid the negative consequences of the transition, such as implementing emissions-reducing innovations in fossil power plants instead of immediately shifting to zero-emission technologies.
  • Transformation coping strategies challenge the stability of existing systems by introducing fundamentally new ways of thinking, acting, doing and organising. They include full regional & local transformations out of carbon-intensive industries.

Coping strategies differ based on who is doing the coping, the resources and connections they have available to them, their local context, and their national policy context. For example, the coping strategies of local governments in coal-intensive regions in Germany are very different from those of oil shale workers in Estonia, because they have different capacities and are working in different environments.

The purpose of this inventory is to record and study all the different coping strategies being used. In its final form, the inventory will describe each strategy in detail and includes examples of where and how each strategy was applied in practice. On this basis, recommendations can be developed on how to help the people, communities and institutions that are experiencing changes "cope" in ways that work towards global decarbonisation, while ensuring their overall general well being.

The inventory is a work in progress. At present, it contains information on the coping strategies being used in the four focus regions of the CINTRAN project: Western Macedonia (Greece), Silesia (Poland), Ida-Virumaa (Estonia) and the Rhenish mining area (Germany). Over the next nine months, it will be expanded and refined to include strategies from around the world. The project team welcomes submissions to the inventory from the general public. Inputs can be submitted via an online questionnaire under the following link.

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