The Bartlett


Just transitions: managing the fossil fuel decline

24 June 2021, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Chimney with smoke blurred

In this online event, a diverse panel of experts will bring their perspectives on what a just transition for the fossil fuel sector might look like, how it should be managed, and some of the key challenges to overcome.

This event is free.

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The international community has committed in the Paris Agreement to keep global heating well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. This goal will not be achieved without a substantial reduction in the rate of fossil fuel production and use, and will require most fossil fuel reserves to be left in the ground.

This decline would need to be rapid, and would cause major disruption to the fossil fuel industry, including loss of government revenues, cuts to shareholder pay outs and job losses. It is therefore no surprise that many countries have signalled continued production of fossil fuels that is completely misaligned with Paris goals (see the Production Gap 2020 report).

This gives rise to questions of how such a decline can be managed in a just manner, that respects the needs of countries, companies and communities that are impacted by such a transition. This online event will feature a panel discussion followed by an interactive Q&A.

Event agenda


  • Yacob Mulugetta, UCL STEaPP

Interventions by panelists

  • Kate James, UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Sian Bradley, Chatham House
  • Adrien Vogt-Schilb, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
  • Greg Muttitt, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Moderated discussion, with Q&A

About the speakers

Siân Bradley
Senior research fellow in the Energy, Environment and Resources programme at Chatham House

Sian works on climate risk and transition pathways, with a focus on fossil fuel producers and mining economies. She has led research and policy processes and capacity-building courses for donors, MDBs and international initiatives, and spent 2020-2021 working with the European Bank for Reconstruction (EBRD) and the MDB Paris Alignment Working Group on Just Transition. Prior to joining Chatham House, she worked with a political risk consultancy, and studied International Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Kate James
Senior Policy Advisor on the UK’s Powering Past Coal Alliance, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Kate joined the UK’s International Climate Policy team in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 2 years ago to lead on just transition. Prior to joining the PPCA team Kate worked on the UK Government’s domestic energy security policy also in BEIS and held various roles in energy and climate change, including the devolution of further powers to Welsh and Scottish Nations.

Yacob Mulugetta
Professor of Energy and Development Policy, University College London

Yacob is Professor of Energy and Development Policy at UCL and held an academic post at the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, UK.  He is a founding member of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) based in Ethiopia where he worked as Senior Climate & Energy Specialist (2010-2013).  He has 25 years of research, teaching and advisory experience specialising on the links between energy infrastructure provision and human welfare. His research is focused on three interconnected areas: energy systems and development; energy systems and climate change; and political economy of low carbon development. He served as a Coordinating Lead Author of the Energy Systems chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment Report (Working Group III on Mitigation), lead author in the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC, and currently lead author in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report (Demand, Services & Social Aspects of Mitigation).  He recently led the chapter on Energy Transitions in UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report (2019). Yacob Mulugetta is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).  

Greg Muttitt
Senior Policy Adviser, Energy Supply, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Greg has over 20 years of research experience on fossil fuels and climate change, focusing on the economics and politics of energy transitions. Before joining IISD, he was Research Director at Oil Change International and Co-Director at Platform. He is the author of the book Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq (Random House, 2011). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Physics & Philosophy and a Master of Science in energy economics. He lives in the United Kingdom.

Adrien Vogt-Schilb
Senior climate change economist, Inter-American Development Bank

Adrien's work focuses on the design of effective and politically acceptable climate strategies. This means aligning climate policies with local development goals and the long-term decarbonization imperative and managing political economy issues in the transition to net-zero – including labour, social and fiscal impacts. Adrien also works on methods to build socio-economic resilience to climate change impacts, and to facilitate the co-construction of public policies with a variety of stakeholders and objectives. 

Adrien is a trained engineer, holds a PhD in economics and is the author of 6 books and more than 30 academic papers on climate change and development. 

Image by JuergenPM from Pixabay