In search of justice in coal transition in India

Crawford School of Public Policy
Photo by Nitin Kirloskar on Flickr

Event details

RE&D Research Seminar

Date & time

Thursday 07 October 2021


Online via Zoom


Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt


Ana Manero

Energy systems are shifting rapidly all over the world, including in India. Since the impacts of energy transition transcend economic and political domains to affect every aspect of society, the concept of ‘just transition’ has been mooted by trade unions, advocacy groups, development agencies, businesses and governments; indeed, in 2015 the concept was referenced in the Paris Agreement. While India, a signatory to the Paris Accord, is committed to achieving a low-carbon economy, the importance of coal in the country has nevertheless increased over the last few decades. This reality begs the questions: How can a just transition be achieved in India? What kind of justice do we want to achieve and for whom?

In this presentation, Professor Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt of Resource, Environment and Development Program will argue that there is not one single coal economy in India, and any framework of just transition must take the multiplicities of coal economies into consideration. Professor Lahiri-Dutt will show that there are at least four coal economies in India, with varied degrees of legality and formalisation. A transition away from coal would need to consider the needs of everyone reliant on these different economies, and consider the different meanings of justice for those involved in each of them in order for the transition to be truly ‘just’.

Prof. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt bio Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt is a Professor at the Australian National University, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. She has extensive research experience on the social and ecological aspects of resources, in particular, both large and industrial and informal artisanal and small-scale mines and quarries, water resource management, and feminization of agriculture in the country. Kuntala is currently researching how global coal sector transition can be gender-just, rather than adding to the economic, social and political burdens on women in coal-reliant communities, especially in the Global South

More information about Kuntala can be found on her staff page:

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