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Opinion

A just transition must reflect the voices of those who will be impacted most

By Alison Cretney and Elizabeth Shirt      

While ultimately everyone will be impacted by the transition to net zero emissions, some people are likely to be harder hit than others, including youth, women, BIPOC communities, and fossil fuel workers.

The oil sands, pictured in Fort McMurray, Alta. More than two-thirds of Canadian fossil fuel workers are interested in jobs in a net-zero economy, 58 per cent see themselves thriving in that economy, and nearly nine in 10 want training and upskilling for net-zero employment, write Alison Cretney and Elizabeth Shirt. The Hill Times file photograph by Jake Wright

With government and business leaders meeting these last two weeks for the UN Climate Change Conference, it is a relief to see that the majority of countries are committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. The conversations to date have been focused on what we need to do to get to net zero. It’s increasingly clear that the how is also essential and can’t be overlooked. The Paris Agreement, the international treaty on climate change from 2015, embedded net zero as the target for 2050 and also the concept of a “just transition”: a shift to net zero that is equitable, inclusive, and prosperous. In other words, we can’t leave anyone behind. 

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