Just Green Transition in the Nordics: analysis of three Swedish regions

Transitioning towards a carbon-neutral economy and society has become a major policy goal in the European Union. Researchers agree that this will challenge our economies and societies in the years to come. But the transformations will also provide opportunities to create development pathways that are sustainable in the long run. Many initiatives for climate-neutral economy are already taking place in the Nordics and Nordregio has analyzed three regional examples.

Just Green transition is high on the European policy agenda. Nordregio researchers just released the new article on the topic “Towards a Territorially Just Climate Transition—Assessing the Swedish EU Territorial Just Transition Plan Development Process”. The analysis focuses on three sectors and regions – mineral non-metallic industry in Gotland, petrochemical industry in Västra Götaland, and steel industry in Norrbotten.

According to the researchers, just green transitions will create major economic opportunities for regional economies specialised in strategic sectors such as renewable energy provision and sustainable transportation. But if transitions are not adequately planned, territories with carbon-intensive economies and facilities could pay a major economic and social toll for the transformation.

“An important criterion for socially fair climate transitions is that ‘no one is left behind’. But the regional and local transition plans should also ensure that environmental burdens and social impacts are not transferred to other regions either. For this, it is critical to find a balance between the technical, social, and spatial elements of a just transition”, says Carlos Tapia, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio.

This project supports The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth in the development of Regional Territorial Just Transition Plans in Sweden, which shall support the direction of funding from the EU Just Transition Fund 2021-2027.