COP28 Agenda

The Elephant in the Room—Just and Inclusive Transitions in Fossil Fuel Regions

When 18:00-19:30 (CN)
10:00-11:30 (UK)
02:00-03:30 (SF)
Where Energy Foundation China Pavilion, China Pavilion EXPO 2020 (Green Zone), X583+2CW Sunrise Avenue - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Time: December 6, 2023, 14:00-15:30 (Dubai Time)


Coal accounts for 60% of China’s total energy consumption. About 4 million people are employed in the country’s coal mining sector (not including the associated services sector and supporting functions). In addition, China’s thermal power generation, steel, and cement industries are heavily coal-reliant. A change toward carbon neutrality and green energy means millions of conventional jobs will be eliminated and new employment opportunities will be created. How to smoothly transfer the employees along the coal value chain to new job opportunities is critical for a successful energy transition from social equity and sustainability perspectives; while how to smoothly phase out the fossil-fuel assets to avoid significant amounts of write-off in balance sheets is crucial for financial stability. A just and inclusive transition is especially urgent for Shanxi province, where 1/3 of China’s coal is produced and coal mines contribute to 40% of the provincial industrial output and 72% of the provincial tax income.

For this session, we would like to share experiences between China, U.S., and Europe experts on challenges, successful experiences, and lessons learned on just and inclusive fossil fuel transitions.



Opening Remarks by David Vance Wagner, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Energy Foundation China


Panel Discussion, moderated by Cynthia Yu, Director of Coal Transition, EF China 

Guiding Questions:

  • How big is the fossil fuel dependency of the region you work in in terms of economy, current employment, and potential future demography? What are the potential impacts? Have any solutions been implemented to address them? What do employees in fossil fuel and local business players think about just transition?
  • What are the biggest challenges you are facing for a just and inclusive transition? What is the most crucial support needed in the regions for a smooth transition? 
  • From an international collaboration perspective, what can be done for just energy transition?  

Panelists (55 mins)

  • Nathan Wendt, President, Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs
  • Li Ying, Director of the International Exchanges Center at Shanxi Coshare Innovation Institute of Energy & Environment (SCIIEE)
  • Wang Ke, Associate Professor, Deputy Dean, Institute of Ecological Civilization, Renmin University of China
  • Genady Kondarev, Senior Associate,  Central And Eastern Europe, E3G
  • Alex Fisher, Program Director, Climate Ambition, ClimateWorks Foundation
  • Philipp Heilmaier, General Director “Future of energy supply,” Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH dena (on-line)

Open discussion (20 minutes)

  • Evan Hansen, West Virginia House of Delegates
  • Mark Newcomb, Teton County Commissioner, Wyoming
  • Hua Wen, Director of Energy Transition, NRDC China Program
  • Sasanka Thilakasiri, Portfolio Director, Growald Climate Fund


Closing by WANG Lei, Secretary General, China Coal Society (on-line)



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