There is a lack of knowledge on how a just climate transition will come about and what it will look like.
Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Achieving globally agreed temperature levels is still possible but will require profound change in all sectors. That is why policy makers are being called upon to take swift, and sometimes drastic, action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many cities have already formulated ambitious climate plans and targets. In these, a focus on justice is becoming increasingly important in order to enable a society that not only has low CO2 emissions, but also offers an adequate environment for all citizens.
However, although justice is increasingly linked to the climate challenge, there is no knowledge of how a just climate transition will come about and what it will look like. For example, the fields of knowledge that have developed around transition have only to a limited extent been integrated with established research into justice, less still with urban justice. Other challenges concern the governance and management of transition. There is a need for new knowledge on how public organisations can build the ability to lead and organise for the complex challenges resulting from a just climate transition.
Such challenges are sometimes called ‘insidious’ to describe their high degree of unpredictability, and that opining and subjective knowledge influence how they are understood and managed. At the same time, these problems affect many different societal actors, decision-making levels, disciplines and sectors, and extend across geographical and organisational borders. All of this means that the management of insidious problems, as part of planning for, and transitioning to a climate-just future, requires new forms of governance and cooperation based, among other things, on reflection and exploring alternative options.
An increasing body of research into sustainable transition indicates that this type of exploratory practice requires a multidisciplinary approach, that is, a context in which research and practice interact and drive knowledge and solution development together. Knowledge is thus not applied to an existing practice, but is generated together on the basis of the problem as it has arisen in practice, and can then be used in the relevant situation. This enables all involved to better implement and utilise the results generated from such a process.
Just Transitions graduate school takes the intersection that arises between climate adaptation and inclusive community building as its starting point, and builds on the methods, knowledge and skills needed to lead a transition towards a climate-just society.