European Platform for Coal Regions in Transition: What it is and how it can support your region

From April 8th to 9th more than 200 representatives of national, regional and local policy levels, administration, NGOs, trade unions and trade associations gathered in Brussels for the 4th working  group Meeting to discuss aims, strategies and instruments for a Just Transition. For the first time the Platform Meeting explicitly gave space for an interregional dialogue about a future cooperation between EU coal regions on transition-related issues. But what exactly is the European Platform for Coal Regions in Transition and what can it do for your region?

Coal is currently mined in 41 regions across 12 EU countries. Even though the production and combustion of coal steadily declined over the past decade due to economical and climate protection reasons, coal still accounts for almost a quarter of total electricity in the EU and provides approximately 240.00 jobs.

However, air pollutants from coal mining and combustion cause more than 18.000 deaths annually (Source: Health and Environmental Alliance, 2013) and coal is the most CO2-intensive way of producing electricity. In Germany for example emissions from coal were responsible for approximately 28% of the total German CO2 emissions in 2016 (Source: Kommission Wachstum, Strukturwandel und Beschäftigung, 2019).

Thus, in order to meet the Paris Agreement and prevent a global warming of more than 1,5°C many European regions and countries face the challenge of phasing out coal energy as fast as possible, while building up new economic perspectives for people and regions that currently depend on the coal sector.

In order to support these processes the European Commission launched the ‘Platform on coal regions in transition’ in December 2017. The platform provides opportunities for national, regional and local representatives to discuss how coal regions can modernise their economies in line with a clean energy transition that also focuses on creating new income perspectives for workers and communities.

In 2019, Re-Industrialise consortium partner Wuppertal Institute is part of the secretariat in charge of the platform. This is an opportunity for us to largely profit from synergies between these two projects, for example in identifying and assessing good practice examples for a Just Transition as well as lessons learnt from a variety of regional projects.

The next Working Group Meeting will take place from July 15th to 16th  in Brussels. On this occasion, the Re-Industrialise team will present a new virtual tool to assess regional Co2 emissions and link them to relevant socio-economic indicators. This tool will identify and match regions at a similar stage of development and therefore facilitate the knowledge exchange between regions. Come meet us there or stay tuned for more information!