Tackling climate change requires deep systemic change across society (European Environment Agency 2019). This change will affect everyone – some will benefit from new business ventures and jobs; others will face the risk of energy poverty, unemployment, health problems, and other negative consequences.
Urban sustainability and effective climate action at the local scale will not be possible without bringing all citizens on board (European Environment Agency 2021). Policy and action on climate change should be seen as intertwined with action towards social and environmental justice, because environmental inequality and unequal exposure to impacts of climate change lead to social inequalities. Co-created climate actions involving different social groups in appropriate ways have a high probability of also being 'just' in nature. If 'justice' is not considered when designing new green infrastructure for example, it can exacerbate existing inequalities, create new ones, or even preserve an unequal status quo (Zacharzewski and O’Phelan 2022).
This report focuses on cities and the need to involve citizens both actively and widely in transitions towards a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient Europe ‒ thereby making these transitions just. It sees citizen engagement and involvement as a key element of Just Transitions processes. While it will of course be embedded in a wider stakeholder participation process, including various other organisations within (public-private) partnerships, this particular focus is also motivated by the fact that there can be partnership without participation but not participation without partnership (Adams and Ramsden 2019).