In the run-up to UN climate summit named COP 26, New Delhi-based International Forum for Environment, Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST) on Tuesday launched its India Just Transition Centre (IJTC).
Its inaugural virtual session was attended, among others, by MPs Jairam Ramesh and Jayant Sinha and Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Coal, Vinod Kumar Tewari.
At the event a new report titled 'Five Rs: A cross-sectoral landscape of Just Transition in India' was also released.
Speaking at the event, Ramesh emphasised on the need to create capacity in India on just transition.
"There is need to create independent research capacity which will be the base for advocacy and eventually a larger policy change. The IJTC will have an important role in creating this capacity and bringing the expertise together," he said.
The 2015 Paris Agreement has made just transition an important part of the climate change agenda. Just transition has been gaining momentum worldwide.
Developed countries are building capacity and knowledge on how to implement a just energy transition roadmap to meet net-zero targets.
Sinha, who is from the Hazaribagh constituency, which is a key coal district of Jharkhand, emphasised the need to start planning for a just transition in coal mining areas.
"Phasing out coal over the next two to three decades is essential to meet climate goals. The planning for this must start now. The IJTC will play an important role in bridging the gap between state and national policy and the ground realities," said Sinha.
Presenting the vision of IJTC, Chandra Bhushan, CEO of iFOREST, said, "The IJTC will be a platform to bring stakeholders together to work on various aspects of just transition in India. Envisioned as a centre of excellence, the IJTC will provide thought leadership, support policies and planning, provide technical support, promote best practices, and build capacity of various stakeholders."
The IJTC is planning to launch a resource centre for just transition in the coming months.
"By launching the IJTC, iFOREST has made a long term commitment to work on a just energy transition," said Bhushan.
Coal India Limited (CIL) has also started investing in renewable energy. In April, the company had announced establishing two wholly-owned subsidiaries -- CIL Solar PV and CIL Navikarniya Urja Ltd -- for undertaking solar PV manufacturing and renewable energy projects.
Experts say that India has major challenges of just transition with three-fourth of the country's primary energy need being met by fossil fuels.
Also, there are 120 districts that are significantly dependent on fossil fuels and related industries for revenue and livelihood. At least 20 million workers, a large majority of them being informal, are dependent on fossil fuel and related sectors.
The new report of iFOREST, 'Five Rs: A cross-sectoral landscape of Just Transition in India', brings out the urgent need to start planning a just transition in certain key sectors like coal mining, thermal power and automobile.
It highlights 60 districts, many of them in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, where industrial restructuring will be required to avoid social and economic disruptions due to ongoing energy transition.