About the book

‘’A European Just Transition for a Better World’’ is a unique edited volume developed as part of a broader transnational project of the Green European Foundation.   

What makes it unique is its joint pan-European and global approach, which looks at Just Transition in a broader context, as well as the green lens it applies. Authors and chapters span the European Union (EU) and the Global South with specific focuses on Namibia and Colombia.


As the broader European conversation about Just Transition is vibrant and at the heart of Green Deal discussions, the book offers a space and time for reflection. It covers many aspects including historical perspectives, regional approaches, European policy developments, youth perspectives and transitioning industries with a focus on specific struggles, such as unemployment among others.


Selected quotes

‘’Only a vision of transition that considers the complexity, context dependency and interconnections of the multiple challenges that we face will be able to bring about the radical change that is so urgently needed. This shows that you cannot implement environmental policies without a social framework. Or, in other words: either climate policy will be social or it will not ‘be’ at all.’’ 

Dirk Holemans, Chapter: Different perspectives on just transition: from decent jobs in a greener society to a good life for all within planetary boundaries  


‘’What we need, therefore, is a radical overhaul of the old social contract. In the age of the Green Deal, the new social contract implies a better, healthier and more equitable life for people everywhere and greater care for the natural environment. We should move from a world of eternal scarcity and endless wants to a society providing universal basic services and abundance in the context of planetary boundaries.’’ 

Sara Matthieu, Chapter: The European Green Deal as the new social contract  


‘’Despite a decades-long exercise in corporate ’’greenwashing’’, the vision of a low-carbon aviation sector is long way from materializing. This is the first major injustice of the aviation industry: the havoc it is wreaking with planetary health and human societies, for generations to come’’

Robert Magowan, Chapter: Aviation and just transition  


‘’At its core, just transition is concerned with social equity and sustainable development; however, the path to achieving those objectives is bifurcated. Just transition is a directive to either reform or transform existing economic and political systems to avoid a looming climate change crisis and to protect the biosphere.’’ 

Anya Namaqua Links, Chapter: Just transition and development: A battle and challenge for Namibia  


Relatedly, when young people and frontline community members act as plaintiffs in climate litigation cases, there is a serious risk that they are used as faces for the case without being awarded agency in setting its direction.

Sean Currie, Chapter: Just transition – Youth perspectives


The book in a nutshell

The book starts off with a history of the Just Transition movement over the past decades, with an emphasis on the struggles of workers’ unions and their contributions to promoting reskilling the workforce and securing decent jobs in a green society for a better life lead within the planetary boundaries.  

The book also analyses the current debates on Just Transition happening in the Union, both at the local and regional levels, for instance in Southeastern and Northern Europe, as well as the EU-level, especially as part of the European Green Deal and the youth perspectives. 

The book ends with a more topical, in-depth approach, by delving into key sectors in which just transition needs to be conducted, particularly aviation and agriculture. When it comes to agriculture, the book proposes a vision of a regenerative agriculture.  



Table of contents

Foreword: Natalie Bennett

Introduction: Dirk Holemans

PART I: Setting the Stage

  • Just transition in the climate agenda: from origins to
    practical implementation, Joaquín Nieto
  • Different perspectives on a just transition: from decent jobs in a greener society to a good life for all within planetary boundaries, Dirk Holemans andElina Volodchenko
  • A global perspective: voices from the South, Daniel Chavez, Rand El Zein, Lyda Fernanda Forero and Anya Namaqua Links

PART II: European Regions on Their Way

  • Accelerating just transition from Southern Europe:
    the case of Spain, Raúl Gómez and Joaquín Nieto
  • Historical perspectives to inform a just transition in
    Southeastern Europe, Dragan Djunda, Aleksandar Gjorgjievski and Vedran Horvat
  • Just transition in the Nordic model, Simo Raittila
  • The uneven rise of just transition in Western Europe, Dirk Holemans and Elina Volodchenko

PART III: Just Transition and the EU Green Deal

  • The European Green Deal as the new social contract, Sara Matthieu

PART IV: Frontrunners Showing the Way

  • Just transition – youth perspectives, Sean Currie
  • A just transition in agriculture, Anne Chapman
  • Aviation and the just transition, Robert Magowan

PART V: Concluding Remarks

  • To conclude: our work has only just begun, Dirk Holemans and Adrián Tóth


E-book available in Macedonian

Audiovisual resources

Just Transition Book Launch: Skopje



Just Transition for a Change of Era: An Interview with Joaquín Nieto, former director of the ILO office for Spain.


A Just Transition in Agriculture podcast with Anne Chapman

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