Skip to main content


Just Transition or Just a Transition? The Importance of Power, Organizing, and Framing in Decarbonization

Climate Series, Climate Futures/Climate Justice

dateApril 25, 2023 timeTuesday, 4:15pm–6:00pm EDT locationVirtual Event location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Columbia Climate School
  • Center for Science and Society
  • Decarbonization, Climate Resilience and Climate Justice Network
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Three flags promoting climate justice in a climate protest parade

While a rapid and dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there will be negative socio-economic consequences for workers and communities in fossil fuel regions, in addition to the ongoing pollution from fossil activity that is disproportionately borne by marginalized communities. Addressing and mitigating these consequences is not incompatible with an equitable energy transition, yet a just energy transition is far from guaranteed. Who and what is covered by "just transition" is increasingly unclear as the term becomes popularized and co-opted. This talk will explore what is meant by "just transition," the importance of "just," and how to advance a just energy transition.


J. Mijin Cha is an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a fellow at the Worker Institute, Cornell University, where she works on the Labor Leading on Climate initiative. Dr. Cha’s research focuses on labor/climate coalitions and just transitions. She is a part of the Just Transition Listening Project research team, which was the first effort of its kind to interview over 100 individuals on their experience with industrial transition. Along with her colleagues, she also developed a novel framework for developing just transition policies and conducted a four-state study of just transition and progressive power at the state level. Dr. Cha is on the board of the Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment and Greenpeace U.S. She is also a member of the California Bar.


Ege Yumuşak is a philosopher, specializing in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and social & political philosophy. She received a PhD in Philosophy from Harvard University in 2022. Her research examines political disagreement—its material foundations, social manifestations, and epistemic properties. She is currently writing a series of articles on the nature and significance of clashes of perspective in social life. Her writing, on topics ranging from labor organizing to feminism, has appeared in The Point Magazine and The Forge Magazine. She is a contributing editor at the Drift Magazine. She is a current Fellow in the Society of Fellows.

Climate Futures/Climate Justice is an interdisciplinary event series exploring the relationship between climate justice, carbon tech, and climate futures. Climate scientists, engineers, anthropologists, geographers, science studies scholars, political ecologists, legal scholars, and historians connect to discuss justice-centered climate futures and engage defining issues of the carbon tech/climate justice nexus.

This event will be in person at the Heyman Center and live-streamed online. Please register for both in-person and virtual attendance via the link.

Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.