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Just Energy Transitions for Europe and Beyond: Call for Abstracts

Submissions are sought for a special issue with Frontiers in Political Science that explores the conceptual and practical aspects of a ‘just’ energy transition both within and beyond Europe. In particular, contributions to the theoretical and interdisciplinary foundations of just transitions, as well as the practical implementation of mechanisms and strategies for achieving it (including empirical research on the topic) will be welcome.


The ‘deeply transformative policies’ of the European Green Deal (EGD), particularly around the clean energy transition (CET), will have widespread impacts around the globe. These policies will affect communities and industries across Europe, ranging from energy supply, production, and consumption to large-scale infrastructure, transport, food and agriculture, construction, taxation and social benefits. Because of the diversity of the European economy, the EGD necessitates more drastic changes in some nations than others, leading to concern over disparities in its application and increasing regional inequality. The broad mandate may exacerbate pre-existing and underlying societal tensions and result in deep conflicts with communities that are impacted. Some recent examples include the nitrogen crisis with Dutch farmers and conflicts over lithium mining in Cáceres and Cañaveral, Spain, and Jadar, Serbia. These conflicts demonstrate the tensions between competing societal values and the problems inherent in implementing measures without community acceptance and support.

Moreover, the rapid acceleration towards renewable energy will drive a tremendous expansion in the global supply chain for critical minerals, necessitating the extraction of increasing quantities in other jurisdictions and potentially outsourcing socioenvironmental harm. This will likely contribute to conflicts over resource extraction that originate in European decision-making but have impacts that are felt beyond its borders. The EGD recognizes the need for careful attention to potential trade-offs between economic, environmental, and social objectives by ensuring that ‘no one is left behind.’ It envisions a ‘just and inclusive’ transition that puts people first, promotes active public participation, and pays attention to the regions, industries and workers who will face the greatest challenges. However, this raises pressing questions about what a ‘just’ transition entails, how this will be achieved, who is entitled to participate in decision-making (and to what extent), and who are the beneficiaries. 

Call for Abstracts

Submissions are welcome on a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • What are the imperatives of a just institutional approach? Which approaches can assist in mitigating socioenvironmental conflict
  • How can (and should) policymakers consider diverse normative values?
  • How will the social and human rights impacts of EGD policies be taken into account in the decision-making process?
  • What is the role of the citizen within EGD decision-making?
  • How can participatory approaches be strengthened? Who is entitled to participate? 
  • Are future generations also accounted for in this ‘just’ transition process? At the same time, are newly forming intergenerational dynamics considered in the broader framework?
  • What are the mechanisms and strategies currently utilized to ensure a just transition? What are some examples of best (or worst) practices that we can learn from?
  • How can we address concerns around ‘green colonialism’ that have been levelled against clean energy transitions?
  • How does EGD policymaking interact with other legal systems? What are the implications of these policies for other jurisdictions? 
  • What are some of the barriers and opportunities for achieving EGD sustainability goals in a just manner? 
  • What is the relationship between nationalism and perceptions of justice and how can (or does) this inform understandings of just transitions? Is nationalism a deterrent to the EGD framework? 
  • Are there any existing alternatives to the EGD?

This Research Topic aims to provide a multidisciplinary forum for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners to present new academic research (including conceptual work and empirical studies), policy developments, and implementation strategies relating to just transitions. Submission of articles that describe original work which has not been previously published or accepted for publication elsewhere, and is not currently under review, in any other journal or conference will be considered.

Abstracts due May 15th, with full manuscripts due by August 13th (if accepted for review).

More information can be found here.


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