Restructuring of coal regions: the role of the local communities and trade unions
Slovenia is currently adopting the National strategy for coal exit and restructuring of the coal regions in accordance with the principles of a just transition, which provides for an abandonment of coal in the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ). The deadline proposed in the public hearing was set for 2033, and the draft document also listed 2038 and 2042 as possible deadlines. Projected emission coupon prices show that due to financial burdens, TEŠ will have to be closed even before 2030. It is reasonable to assume that both the power plant and the lignite mine will have to close down early, i.e. before the date set out in the strategy, with a number of extremely negative effects for workers and the local community, which will be unprepared for early closure due to the delay.
Phasing out of coal in Europe is inevitable in order to achieve the EU’s enhanced climate target for 2030 and due to the economic viability of thermal power plants. Given that all Member States will soon revise their National Energy and Climate Plans in order to implement the EU’s enhanced climate and energy policies, it is of crucial importance to set timely and fair coal exit dates and to include them in these national strategies.
Practical examples across Europe shows that coordinated restructuring of the coal regions by different actors can have positive effects – from healthier living environments and an overall improvement in the quality of life, increased social inclusion and improved public services, to reduced unemployment and poverty.
Slovenia is about to decide on the exit from coal. In the ongoing debate, stakeholders mainly focus on the coal exit deadline and the reasons behind it, but there is no discussion about the proactive role of trade unions and local decision-makers in planning the timely and equitable restructuring of the region.
Focus Association for Sustainable Development, as part of the LIFE Unify project, is organizing a conference on the topic of timely and equitable coal exit, which will take place on May 12 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We will first highlight the key arguments for a timely coal phase‑out and present current trends in Europe, and then present good practices in the approaches by local decision‑makers and trade unions to find concrete approaches that could result in a timely and equitable restructuring of coal regions.
The event will be held in English, interpretation will be provided from English into Slovenian and vice versa.
Please see the full programme here: coal-exit-in-slovenia-workshop-programme
Mandatory registration via the online form: https://forms.gle/u2K6tCrKwhbaqra88
The event will be moderated by journalist Primož Cirman, Necenzurirano.