To achieve the European Union's climate targets, the share of coal in the energy mix must decline. At the same time, emission-intensive industries must reduce their emissions. This transformation process is expected to have both positive effects (e.g. innovation, new employment opportunities, reduced environmental impact, re-industrialisation) and negative effects (e.g. loss of economically important sectors and associated cultural heritage; unemployment and other social challenges). A major obstacle for the transformation process in the EU is the fact that the positive and negative effects are not evenly distributed at the regional level.
Against this background, the European Commission started the "Coal Regions in Transition" initiative in 2017. The initiative is intended to support European coal regions in their transition to a low-carbon future. As of 2019, the secretariat for the "Coal Regions in Transition (CRIT)" initiative is run by an international consortium led by Ecorys. Further partners in the consortium are ICLEI und Climate Strategies. The Wuppertal Institute is part of the consortium and its task is to collect scientific evidence and deliver knowledge products that support the various activities within the initiative. Key products are a series of toolkits for practitioners and a series of short case studies summarising key learnings from ongoing and historic transition processes in coal regions globally.