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Fostering a just transition in Europe

Actions should enhance the understanding of the challenges of the “just transition” to climate-neutral and environmentally sustainable economies and societies, as envisaged in the European Green Deal and Next Generation EU. They should analyse various dimensions of inequality arising from climate change impacts, climate policies and transition pathways including their distributional implications associated with changes in GDP, industrial competitiveness and trade, employment and skills, taxation, incomes and wealth, vulnerabilities and human health, structure of sectors, business models and relative prices etc. Further equity aspects associated with climate change impacts and climate policy, such as differential vulnerabilities as well as intergenerational fairness or justice should also be studied, taking into consideration social and geographic circumstances and paying due attention to most vulnerable parts of the society (poor, elderly, persons with disabilities, children, migrants etc.). The gender dimension should also be explored. Research should integrate learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of the evolution of inequality in Europe and analyse potential implications for climate action and green recovery.

Actions should identify policy options and measures that combine climate and environmental benefits with intra- and intergenerational justice, e.g. by a reduction of poverty and inequality across different sectors of society, as well as within and between countries and regions. They should explore links between and combinations of climate-focused policies and social, taxation, employment and other relevant measures. Recommendations as to the most effective levers for enacting an inclusive, fair and just ecological transition should be formulated.

Beyond climate action, links to Sustainable Development Goals should be considered as many of them are centred on reducing poverty, inequality and meeting basic human needs.

Improving tools and methodologies for addressing intra- and intergenerational equity, equality and justice concerns in the context of the transition to climate neutrality is part of the action’s scope, but should take into account the work by projects in other parts of the work programme, notably those addressing the improvement of Integrated Assessment Models under Destination 1 on Climate Science. Research should comprise a strong empirical component, including field experiments, and meaningfully involve stakeholders to collect evidence, test proposals and discuss relevant issues.

Actions are expected to mobilise and build on the knowledge from across a broad range of social sciences (including behavioural science, political science, sociology, economics, law, gender studies etc.) and humanities and involve all parts of the quadruple helix (public bodies, industry/SMEs, social partners, academia/research, citizens/civil society) in a meaningful transdisciplinary manner and across activities[[Projects focused on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) may be particularly relevant in this regard; a large number of these can be found in the Science with and for Society part of Horizon 2020: https://op.europa.eu/s/oeby.]]. Synergies with the topic HORIZON-CL5-2021-D2-01-15 on Transition Super-Labs should be explored, given that equity and fairness considerations will play a very important role in that context, too.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.