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Heat of the Moment an FP Studios podcast, in partnership with the Climate Investment Funds

What Does a Just Transition Really Mean?

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How communities and economies are transitioning away from fossil fuels in a fair and equitable way.

The idea of a just transition is often associated with coal miners and other fossil fuel workers whose jobs are disappearing. But it’s a topic that’s so much bigger than that. As listeners will hear throughout this season, this concept encapsulates broader ideals of righting past wrongs—wrongs like racism, sexism, colonialism, and classism.

In the first part of the episode, host John D. Sutter speaks with Benjamin Sovacool, a researcher and energy policy professor at Boston University and the University of Sussex. Sovacool says a just transition is about looking at the livelihoods and well-being of whole communities. The United Nations estimates that 80 million jobs are at risk of being lost because of global warming by 2030, most notably in the global south.

In the second part of the episode, reporter Elna Schutz visits a community in South Africa where a coal-fired power plant was recently decommissioned using a just transition framework. While funding and plans have been put in place to help the community recover after losing its main economic engine, many locals remain concerned about their present situation.

About Heat of the Moment:  The climate change crisis can feel so formidable, so daunting, that instead of mobilizing people to action, it engenders paralysis. What could we mortals possibly do to prevent the calamity? A fair bit, it turns out. On Heat of the Moment, a 10-part podcast by FP Studios, in partnership with the Climate Investment Funds, we focus on ordinary people across the globe who have found ways to fight back.  Hosted by CNN contributor John D. Sutter, Heat of the Moment tells the stories of the people on the front lines of the fight against climate change.  See All Episodes

More Heat of the Moment episodes:

The Importance of Hearing All Voices

How the term “just transition” went from a niche idea in the U.S. labor rights movement to a global call for economic, social, and environmental transformation.

COMING SOON—Heat of the Moment: A Just Transition

Season three of Heat of the Moment launches Jan. 18.

Youth Climate Activists Are Suing Big Oil—and Winning

Youth activists in the Netherlands joined lawsuit against Shell as part of a new strategy to hold fossil energy companies accountable for unsustainable carbon dioxide emissions.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women

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Two years into his first term, how has U.S. President Joe Biden fared on foreign policy? Is there a clear Biden doctrine? Is America in a stronger or weaker position globally?  The answers ...Show more

A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A Russian flag at the Embassy of Russia is seen through a bus stop post in Washington, DC on April 15, 2021. - The US announced sanctions against Russia on April 15, 2021, and the expulsion of 10 diplomats in retaliation for what Washington says is the Kremlin's US election interference, a massive cyber attack and other hostile activity. President Joe Biden ordered a widening of restrictions on US banks trading in Russian government debt, expelled 10 diplomats who include alleged spies, and sanctioned 32 individuals alleged to have tried to meddle in the 2020 presidential election, the White House said. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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