Just energy transitions for whom? Exploring the concept of recognition-based justice in the case of the coal phase-out in Poland

Field: Environmental Sociology, Political Science
Project leader: Ekaterina Tarasova
Starting year: 2022
Project type: Postdoctoral project
Total funding: SEK 2,121,000

The significance of justice and equality in energy transitions has been increasingly acknowledged by scholars and politicians. It is often argued that interests of the labor, coal mining communities and workers in the coal industry, have to be considered to make the phase-out of coal mining industry socially acceptable and reduce the risks of negative socioeconomic consequences. However, little attention is generally paid to recognition of other sectors of society that can be negatively affected by the coal phase-out. Moreover, different types of workers in the coal mining industry and inhabitants of coal mining communities may be affected in different ways and to a different degree. The purpose of this project is to enhance understanding and knowledge on imaginaries of just and equal energy transitions from coal in Poland, and through that problematize and develop the concept of recognition-based energy justice. Drawing on the concept of energy justice, literature on sustainable energy transitions, political theories of justice and inclusion, and feminist theories, the project will inquire into how state, business and third sectors imagine equal and just transitions from coal to low-carbon energy systems, specifically focusing on recognition of diverse interests and groups. Material will consist of semi-structured interviews and policy and regulatory documents, press releases, media articles and other texts analyzed with one or several established methods of text analysis.