Staying within 1.5 degrees will require rapid economy-wide decarbonisation through a transition process that is unprecedented, both in its scale and its speed. The purpose of this paper is to explore past and ongoing transitions in coal regions and the role innovation plays in such processes.

It reviews the existing literature on transitions in five coal regions, all of which are at a different stage of the transition process. From concluded in the case of South Limburg (NL), to ongoing in Alberta (Canada), Ústecký kraj (CZ), Upper Nitra (SK) to barely begun in South-West Oltenia (RO).

In each case, the national and regional context, the role of champions and veto players, innovation and social support schemes, public and private finance as well as an assessment of the overall timeline and effectiveness of the process are being presented.

The findings from the case studies suggest that in order to accelerate ongoing transition processes, it will be essential to ensure targeted spending of public funding, including EU sources, as well as a greater mobilisation of private green finance to support the development of innovations in clean energy and industry and their deployment at scale. These efforts should be closely linked to social programmes that seek to develop corresponding skill sets of existing mining workers as well as ensure the attraction of new workers.

This report was supported by EIT Climate-KIC.

You can access the full report here.