A Comprehensive Policy Approach to a Just Transition

Solving climate change and decarbonizing global energy systems cannot be divorced from the pursuit of social and racial justice. That message is front and center in Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Co-authored by Center for Energy & Society Director, Clark A. Miller, the report provides not only a technical blueprint for achieving carbon neutrality in the U.S. economy by 2050 but also a comprehensive policy blueprint for ensuring a just U.S. energy transition.

The report offers five key recommendations, each complemented by concrete policy implementation strategies:

  • Strengthen U.S. capacity to ensure a just transition by assessing the social and economic impacts of the transition; providing transparent information to communities, workers, businesses, and leaders; and holding U.S. policy accountable for fair and equitable outcomes.
  • Proactively support communities and workers impacted by the transition through investments in clean energy jobs and manufacturing, education, economic, development and direct support for those that need it the most.
  • Leverage the opportunity afforded by the transition to a carbon-neutral U.S. energy system to help confront and redress an array of injustices connected to energy systems that affect BIPOC, low-income, and other disadvantaged communities.
  • Provide resources to support and coordinate action by policy-makers at the local, state, and regional levels as they navigate the complex dynamics of the energy transition.
  • Encourage all stakeholders involved in the energy transition–including the energy sector, local, state, and federal governments, and civil society organizations–to systematically engage the public and take action to strengthen public support for U.S. decarbonization. A robust social contract is essential if the U.S. is to accelerate the technological and economic transformation necessary to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

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