Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Climate justice? Democracy, equity, capability, and power in Just Transition practice

Ämne: Just Transitions, Environmental Justice, Climate Justice
Projektledare: Ralph Tafon
Startår: 2023
Projekttyp: Postdokprojekt
Beviljade medel: 3 100 000 kr

The EU has adopted a Just Transition (JT) Fund to support regions most adversely impacted by transitions to a carbon-free Europe. While this signals commitment to link transition with justice concerns, the EU JT is conceived narrowly in terms of jobs, which neglects other justice issues. Combining a tridimensional theory of justice with power and capability, I analyze the politics of JT in Ida-Viru in Estonia, examining how geopolitics, energy securitization, power relations, and processes of misrecognition and misrepresentation hinder the multidimensional wellbeing of marginalized groups. I also explore processes and practices that can enhance capabilities needed to fulfil group wellbeing and support local ownership and acceptance of transitions. Observation of JT processes, interview with communities, environmental groups, JT planners, municipal agents etc., and the study of media statements, regulatory, policy and planning documents constitute the primary means of gathering data. The study is especially relevant in an era of increased security concern over a warring Russia, with whom Estonia and the rest of the EU seek to cut all energy ties and dependence. Wind energy expansion is a key means to this end. Yet Estonia’s Defense sector is obstructive due to radar obstructions and Ida Viru’s proximity to Russia. The presence of ”big” interests could close down democratic space locally, reinforcing the misrecognition, misrepresentation and thus disempowerment of weaker groups.