Moving towards a just socio-ecological transition

The great challenge facing humanity and our country in the face of the climate crisis is well known. So much so that the IPCC mentions the need to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 °C, for which CO2 emissions must be reduced by 45% by 2030, and be carbon neutral by 2050. , requires a rapid and far-reaching transition in energy, industrial, urban systems, infrastructure, land use, among others; demanding changes in the modes of production and consumption of goods and services, and important territorial transformations.

The transition processes from greenhouse gas-intensive economies to economies with low carbon emissions mandated by the Paris Agreement require the recognition of the legitimate rights of workers, the needs and interests of communities, consumers and citizens, in such a way as to ensure that no one is left behind.

The concept of Just Transition presents the opportunity to unite strategies and combine the demands for social justice and decent employment contained in said concept with a renewed vision to incorporate comprehensive and structural responses to the impacts of climate change. In short, consider the protection of human rights recognizing the principles of environmental justice, energy justice and climate justice.

In this sense, a good sign is the draft Law on Fair Socio-Ecological Transition recently presented by a transversal group of parliamentarians, whose main objective is to regulate the energy and economic transition process, as well as the protection of sinkholes and ecosystems, in order to include binding conditions so that it is fair and equitable, and considers the socio-ecological needs of the communities, localities and potentially affected vulnerable groups.

Said Bill sets forth 6 basic principles: Planning and decentralization; Repair, remediation and restoration; Equity; Democratization; Sovereignty and self-determination; Gender; and Promote socio-ecological and equitable transformation through activities, policies, projects, planning and regulations to reduce extractivism and move towards efficiency and reduction in energy use by intensive energy sectors. The approval of this law would be a great step in that direction.

During its recent history, after the traumatic transition from saltpeter, Chile has experienced other productive reconversions linked to extractive industries, such as the Lota case with the closure of the coal mines, which was also a failure. For this reason, from civil society, and in particular from Sustainable Chile, we have promoted a Just Transition conceptualization and strategy that is not reduced only to the closure of polluting industries such as coal-fired thermoelectric plants, but also ensures labor rights. , environmental remediation and restoration, and repair of the damage caused to the physical and mental health of the population.

Likewise, Sustainable Chile has stated that for a Just transition to be robust and responsible, it is necessary for the current government authorities to establish a binding schedule that considers rapid decarbonization between 2025 and 2030, which deliver certainty companies, workers and communities. which, along with guarantee the right to health and life for the inhabitants of the affected communes, through public instruments that the Health System recognizes and assumes the repair of the impacts for individuals and families. Simultaneously must be remedied substantively the environmental impacts and liabilities, along with updating the Air Quality Standards consistent with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new government has committed in its Program to decarbonize the electricity matrix and put an end to the sacrifice zones. However, there are still no clear criteria or coordination of public institutions to implement a transition that is socio-environmentally fair and that incorporates all the public, private, academic and citizen actors involved. Therefore, it would be appropriate to support the parliamentary initiative and establish by law the principles, criteria and actions that allow the State and citizens to have clear guidelines and procedures so that the transition processes are socially and environmentally fair and democratic.

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