Just Transition is the Opposite of Net Zero

Just Transition is the Opposite of Net Zero

On Feb. 7, 2022, GreenBiz published an article co-authored by Just Transition Alliance Executive Director José Bravo and Board Directors Pam Tau Lee and David Campbell called “Why just transition is the opposite of net-zero.”

It leads:

As we enter another pandemic year feeling cautiously hopeful and looking to tackle a multitude of intertwined global crises — poverty, pollution, pandemic — our Just Transition Alliance team wanted to share some reflections on navigating 2022.

Fortunately for us, this GreenBiz piece by Joel Makower provided a framework for such reflections.

Makower invites reader’s feedback on two questions:

  1. What does “just transition” mean?
  2. Who should define “just transition”?

Contrary to Makower’s comment that “for the uninitiated, it’s a compelling, albeit vague term,” just transition is anything but vague. Complex, yes. Controversial, maybe. But certainly not vague.

Let’s start with its etymology — the history and use of the term in the environmental justice (EJ) movement, where 500 years of resistance to colonial extractivism has shaped our understanding of just transition over the past five decades.