41 mayors support a Just Transition from Coal in Europe
Just Transition in Eastern and Southern Europe contributes to the local development by positively impacting the social, economic and environmental aspects of the transition process
- October 16, 2019 19:30
- Plamen Petrov
A group of 41 mayors from 10 coal regions in 9 European countries launched a statement supporting a just transition to the post-coal era, reports WWF. The declaration was presented to the EU Commission's Deputy Director-General for Energy, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt at the meeting of the EU "Coal Regions in Transition Platform" in Brussels on 16 October. The Platform aims to help regions overcome their dependence on coal by developing sustainable economic activities.
In their statement the mayors affirm their commitment to the Forum of Mayors on Just Transition; encourage governments to engage in dialogue with regional stakeholders; underline the importance of transparency and consultation with local governments in the European Commission's' "Coal Regions in Transition Platform" initiative; urge that appropriate mechanisms are made for capacity building and to ensure financial support for the just transition; welcome the proposal of the European Union institutions for a Just Transition Fund, under the condition that it will be adequately funded and used for the support of local communities in coal and lignite mining regions; call on the European Council, the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Energy Community to strengthen their support for just transition; and commit to continued action in creating a sustainable future for the benefit of all citizens.
The signatory mayors come from Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Two are from non-EU countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro) where phasing out coal is not yet even being discussed.
"In Weisswasser, we have navigated many hurdles, for example overcoming depopulation in the 1990s. But we cannot ensure a fair energy transition alone. Our Declaration shows that mayors are ready to engage with the EU and national governments on this issue. We need the EU to show it is listening and work with us on a successful transition for all Europe's coal regions," said Mayor of Weisswasser, Germany, Torsten Pötzsch, quoted by WWF.
Ursula von der Leyen wants a climate neutral Europe by 2050
To help coal regions reduce emissions and restructure their economies, incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to set up a 'Just Transition Fund'. Ensuring there is enough money going to affected regions, and that it is spent only in ways that will support workers and communities in a move towards sustainable net zero emissions is crucial for achieving climate neutrality.
Phasing out fossil fuel-based electricity generation, especially coal, is a prerequisite for fulfilling the European Union's commitment to the Paris Agreement and the leadership role the EU strives to have in global climate policy. The goal of the Just Transition Project is to develop tailor-made transition strategies for economic transformation of specific regions in Bulgaria (Southwest Bulgaria), Greece (Western Macedonia), and Poland (Silesia), supported by best practice examples from Germany, away from coal and towards sustainable economic activities.
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