The Paris Agreement has reinforced the 2°C-limit and set out a new goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Achieving this goal requires to phase out fossil fuel production and consumption as soon as possible, first and foremost the phase-out of coal.
At the same time, a number of European regions are still dependent on coal mining, not only economically but also culturally as their regional cultural identities are closely linked to their mining legacy. Phasing out coal will therefore require deep structural changes. It can only be successful if structural policies prepare pre-emptively and accompany the required changes in order to avoid social and economic hardship in the respective regions.
The project investigates the utilisation of existing funding instruments of the European Union in four regions. The research team will analyse to what extend the usage reinforces or even creates new structural path dependencies, or whether the funding is used to overcome those dependencies and prepare for the imminent structural changes in a constructive way. The four case study regions are Lusatia (Germany), Silesia (Poland), Ptolemais-Amynteo/Kozani (Greece) und Aragon (Spain).
Based on the case studies, the project will develop recommendations for how to apply existing EU instruments more effectively to support the phase-out of coal mining and/or whether additional instruments may be required.