A collection of articles from leading researchers, published today in Climate Policy’s Special Issue: Oil and Gas Just Transitions, supports calls for more ambitious net zero targets and a “Just Transition” away from fossil fuels. With oil and gas set to be a hot topic at COP28, this Special Issue provides fresh evidence and global perspectives to shape the upcoming negotiations.

New research published in Climate Policy demonstrates a majority consensus amongst leading researchers about the urgent need to ensure just transitions in the phase-out of oil and gas. In other words, transitions that avoid “perverse incentives”, mitigate job losses, engage the public around just transition processes and steer investment to new clean energy and industry solutions. This research emerges as conversations over oil and gas become increasingly contentious in the lead up to COP28 – with the host UAE facing accusations of having an ulterior profit-focused motive in negotiations and mounting calls for a formal energy transition deal at the climate summit.

This Special Issue covers globally diverse country contexts including from the Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Guyana, Suriname, Uganda, Lebanon, Somalia, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Canada. Central to each paper is an examination of the potential of uniting market-led oil and gas just transitions with net zero emission ambitions, while ensuring fair outcomes for workers and communities across the whole oil and gas value chain.

This special issue was inspired by the Oil and Gas Transitions project, co-led by Climate Strategies and the Stockholm Environment Institute, which aims to develop a better understanding of oil & gas transition scenarios in the North Sea region.

Kirsten Jenkins, Guest Editor of this Special Issue, commented:

“Initial estimates suggest that in November 2023, for the first time, global average surface temperatures were more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This timely special issue feeds into evidence for a just transition away from oil and gas at a time where rapid action is ever more pressing”. 

 Adriana Chavarría-Flores, Programme & Impact Manager at Climate Strategies, said:

“The transition out of oil and gas is inevitable and imminent because fossil fuel resources are finite and because our economies and societies are transforming as a result of climate action and policies. Yet, the timeline and how transitions are managed, will determine if they are just and equitable. That is why this special issue is critical. Every country, but particularly advanced economies, have a responsibility to accelerate decarbonisation while putting in place the social security nets to support vulnerable populations if we are to stay in the narrow path to 1.5°C.”

Jan Corfee-Morlot, Climate Policy Journal Editor, said:

“We are pleased to partner with the Oil and Gas Transitions project to launch this Special Issue — full of timely research with insights for climate policy — as the international community works toward just outcomes in phasing out investment in oil and gas.”