Birmingham’s Just Transition: Report

Report for Birmingham Route to Zero Taskforce’s Communications and Engagement Sub-group

Footsteps’ representative on the Birmingham Route to Zero Taskforce, Chris Martin submitted a report to the Birmingham Route to Zero Taskforce’s Communications and Engagement Sub-group exploring what a ‘just transition’ to a net zero carbon city involved in practice.  The report included contributions from the Climate Action Network West Midlands (CANWM) Steering Group, John Nightingale and feedback from members of the R20 Taskforce Communications and Engagement Subcommittee.

The report found that a ‘just transition’ is a vision that describes both where the City is going and how to get there. It includes both the end goal of a net zero carbon City and the inclusive and fair approaches built into the Council declaration.  This involves:

Taking communities with the Council’ along the road to a net zero carbon city involves building trust and confidence, communicating the facts of climate change, utilising existing community networks and democratic structures, and relating to perceived local concerns.  The road to net zero needs to be embedded within the Council’s existing neighbourhood, social and equality strategies.

‘Without impoverishing communities’ involves lifting people out of poverty in ways that do not add to emissions.  Disadvantaged communities tend to have low carbon emissions and there is considerable inequality between wards.

‘Protecting employment’ involves creating meaningful jobs, redefining the nature of work and encouraging new work – leisure balances, not ‘preserving old economy’ jobs.  This involves transitioning to a circular economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, not built on the presumption of cheap, unlimited natural resources to be consumed and then disposed of. 

In summary, a just transition is a process that involves:

•            Approaching change in inclusive and collaborative ways

•            Creating sustainable systems and relationships

•            Addressing inequalities and protecting the most vulnerable

•            Improving well-being

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