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Issue Brief: How Coal Country Can Adapt to the Energy Transition

by Abby Neal

Nov 19, 2020

From international bodies to town halls, focus has been increasingly directed toward deploying clean energy and decarbonizing the economy following reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that countries must drastically cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions within the next decade to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7°F). While widespread, rapid decarbonization is essential, communities that have developed with the coal industry as their backbone are already feeling the burden of the energy and economic transition. Policymakers at all levels of government are interested in mitigating harm to coal-dependent communities. This issue brief characterizes broad issues for communities in transition and surveys federal and regional policies, programs, and proposals intended to provide workforce development opportunities, diversify local economies, and alleviate economic hardship.