Centre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies (CLASS) Centre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies (CLASS)
Photo: Matthew Murphy on Unsplash




The Centre for Climate Law and Sustainability Studies was part of the project consortium to develop theSocially Just and Politically Robust Decarbonisation: A Knowledge Base and Toolkit for Policymakers’ (JUSTDECARB) project in 2020–2023. The project succeeded in the call ‘Enabling Societal Transformation in the Face of Climate Change’ (SOLSTICE) call launched by JPI Climate international programming initiative, a platform supporting societal research of climate change. The project was led by CICERO-Center for International Climate Research (Oslo), other members of the consortium included Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE (London) and Institute of Public Law and Political Science and Field of Excellence ‘Climate Change Graz’ at University of Graz. The interdisciplinary team bringing together economists, political scientists, philosophers and law researchers studied the processes, policies and measures relating to decarbonisation, with a particular focus on justice. The law part of the project (developed by our Centre) pursued the role of human rights and law principles in preparation and implementation of climate policies and measures. The website of the project website can be found here

Below we introduce the main outputs and steps in the project development.


At final project events, the team presented the framework to guide national policy

30. 10. 2023 

Last week, our team participated at the final events of the JustDecarb project at the CICERO Centre in Oslo: the scientific conference, where the main findings and take-away messages of the three-year project were presented, and the stakeholder workshop, where, in addition to the main conclusions of the project, the main output for policy makers was showcased. The latter is the result and summary of the joint work of experts in philosophy, economy, political science and law, and formulates key recommendations for national actors developing and implementing climate and decarbonisation plans, policies and measures. It covers all relevant phases of the policy process: planning and analysis, participation and deliberation, policy design for transitional assistance, implementation and accountability, and monitoring and evaluation. The framework was prepared and published in English and is available for download here

Here we attach the official text accompanying the framework:

The project team with the frameworkThe transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions needs to be socially just and politically robust if it is to succeed. This report presents a framework to guide national policymakers to prepare a coherent programme for such a transition, with a principal focus on Europe.

Theoretically grounded and practically oriented, the report collects resources on national policy and law applicable to specific sectors and to the whole economy, synthesising examples of best practice highlighted by leading research. Its guidance is aimed at governments but also non-governmental organisations, labour unions, firms, international organisations and financial institutions. While the report’s focus is on Europe, the tools and guidance are generally applicable and should be of wider interest.

The framework can be applied to multiple sectors and reflects the wide variety of roles for people and groups in the transition. However, it also covers many aspects of a just transition that do not fit neatly into sectoral or spatial frames, such as fiscal policy, citizens’ participation in policy processes, and national climate laws and institutions.

The report is designed to be a modular reference resource, with advice grouped into chapters reflecting five phases of the policy cycle:

  • Phase 1. Planning and analysis
  • Phase 2. Participation and deliberation
  • Phase 3. Policy design for transitional assistance
  • Phase 4. Implementation and accountability
  • Phase 5. Monitoring and evaluation

Each chapter provides concepts and definitions of essential terms used to guide thinking about activities in each phase; guidance for policymakers to consider when applying these concepts; approaches they can take, with a comparison of features, strengths and weaknesses and signposting to further resources; and case studies demonstrating the use of these approaches in various countries and contexts across Europe, with suggested lessons for others to follow.

All of the chapters contain actions that should be undertaken by multiple government ministries, emphasising that a whole-of-government approach is needed for a just transition, with each ministry taking responsibility for aspects linked to its remit.

The report was produced by a consortium of research institutions from the UK, Norway, Czechia and Austria: University College London, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, the Institute for State and Law at the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the University of Graz. It is an output of the three-year JustDecarb project  (2020–2023).



A joint article by authors from CLASS and ClimLaw: Graz explains the concept of just transition in law

24. 10. 2023

The concept of just transition is used in many fields of social sciences, where it has also been extensively theorised. In the field of law, such elaboration has been so far lacking. The JustDecarb project provided an opportunity to bring together authors from Prague and Graz to write a joint publication on this topic. The article by Hana Müllerová, Eva Balounová, Oliver Ruppel and Larissa Houston entitled "Building the Concept of Just Transition in Law: Reflections on its Conceptual Framing, Structure and Content" has just been published in the journal Environmental Policy and Law (Vol. 53, Issue 4, p. 275–288, DOI: 10.3233/EPL-230012). The article is available here

Abstract: This article focuses on the concept of just transition, which has recently greatly expanded in the climate debate, expressing the demand to adopt and implement climate policies leading to decarbonisation in a way that maintains equity and justice. Building on previous research on the concept of just transition in other disciplines of social sciences, and on the concept’s appearance in international climate law instruments and law literature, we analyse the just transition in the field of law. We seek to clarify its conceptual framing, to define its meaning, and to determine its position and limits in law. We then examine it vertically (for each level of law) and horizontally, addressing the main criteria that define its content, i.e., human rights and legal principles.


We invite you to the closing conference of the SOLSTICE project on Just Transition

10. 10. 2023

On Thursday 26 October 2023, the CICERO Center for International Climate Research will host a conference in Oslo with experts from all institutions of the project consortium to present the project's most interesting findings. There will be presentations on just transition from the perspectives of philosophy, law, political science and economy. The CLASS Centre will be represented by Monika Feigerlová with the paper "Just transitions and business" and Rita Simon with the paper "Vulnerability as a flexible concept for Just Transition". The conference will be held in a hybrid format and you can join just panels of your interest. The full conference programme can be found here. To participate in the conference, please fill in the form, which can be found at the link below in the programme or in the invitation of the Cicero Centre here. The conference will be followed by a stakeholder workshop on Friday 27 October, where the final output of the project - the "Just Transition Policy Toolkit" - will be presented.


Photo: Monika FeigerlováCLASS at the International Conference on Just Transition in Dundee, Scotland  

9. 9. 2023

Three members of CLASS participated at the international conference organised by the University of Dundee on 7-8 September 2023 on the topic of Just Transition and International Law, to present their findings of the JustDecarb project. Hana Müllerová contributed on "Two Approaches to the Concept of Just Transition from the International Law Perspective"; , Monika Feigerlová presented "The Modernised Energy Charter Treaty Through the Lenses of a Just Transitions"; and Adam Novák presented "Just Transition in Post-Communist European Countries". The full conference programme can be found here.


Expert opinion on Just Transition released

1. 3. 2023

Within the JUSTDECARB project, Hana Müllerová and Adam Novák prepared an expert opinion on just transition for the "AVex" series of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The Academy of Sciences prepares the AVex series for law makers, state authorities and their representatives as an expert basis on various topics of public interest. All the opinions issued so far are available (in Czech only) here.

Our AVex titled "Just Transition: Transformation to low-carbon economy from the perspective of law” presents the basics of the just transition concept and its legal context. The concept is not yet sufficiently familiar in the Czech environment, although it is one of the fundamental pillars of the EU climate policy expressed in the European Green Deal under the principle of "leaving no one behind" in the transformation of the society to climate neutrality. The aim of the just transition is to prevent negative phenomena such as increased poverty, social instability, unemployment or displacement from affected regions in the transition to a low carbon economy. One of its basic prerequisites is the application of the relevant findings of legal science on the optimal and equitably balanced setting of regulation, including the human rights and law principles.

The fulltext of the expert opinion (only in Czech) is here.


Workshop on just transition in the Czech Republic

16. 6. 2022

On Friday, 24 June 2022, we are organizing a workshop to connect the knowledge of theory and practice on the topic of just transition in the Czech Republic. Our guests will represent academia, public administration, affected regions, business and NGOs. The workshop will take place in the main building of the Academy of Sciences (Národní 3, Prague 1, hall 108) and online on the Zoom platform. It will be held in Czech.

Just Transition is a concept related to the transition from a fossil-based to a low-carbon economy. The concept of just transition originates from the labour market and employment environment, where it means providing a fair solution for employees in industries or operations that are being shut down. However, in recent years, the concept of just transition has expanded beyond this narrow conception, has become part of the overall debate on addressing the climate crisis, and can also be seen as a set of guidelines for design and implementation of climate policies in general. The concept of just transition is an important part of the European Green Deal. In the Czech Republic, the concept of just transition is relatively new, associated so far mainly with the use of financial instruments and the European Just Transition Fund, which supports investment and transformation of areas affected by the need to phase-out coal. The aim of the workshop is to open a space for a broader perspective on the concept of just transition and to bring together the expertise and experience of theorists and practitioners.

The workshop programme can be found in the attached invitation [in Czech]. 

The videorecording of the workshop is available on our YouTube channel here [in Czech].

You can view some photos from the workshop here:

Photo credit: Eliška Johnová


Photo: David OndřichLooking back at the conference Human Rights and Climate Change

29 November 2021

We would like to thank all the speakers and participants - those who came in person to the main building of the Czech Academy of Sciences and those who joined us online - for their interesting contributions and discussions. We have just posted a photo gallery from the conference on its website, as well as the video recordings of the presentations that are now available for viewing on our YouTube channel in a separate playlist


Conference on Human Rights and Climate change: Last registration call

16 November 2021

The registration for the in-person attendance at our Friday conference on Human Rights and Climate Change has been already closed but you can still register for the online participation until Thursday 18 November 9:00. The conference programme and registration form can be found here.


Conference on Human Rights and Climate change: Programme and registration

25 October 2021

We have just published the programme and opened registration for the International Conference on Human Rights and Climate Change, which we will be hosting on Friday 19 November 2021. The conference will be held in a hybrid format (in person and online via Zoom). You will hear presentations from distinguished international and Czech experts on the human rights impacts of climate change. The conference programme and registration form can be found here.


We are preparing the programme for our November conference

27 May 2021

We are happy to announce the first speakers who confirmed to participate at our conference on Human Rights and Climate Change on 19 November 2021: 

Christina Voigt (University of Oslo)

Sanja Bogojević (University of Oxford)

Eva Schulev-Steindl (ClimLaw, University of Graz)

Ivana Jelić (European Court of Human Rights)

Marc Limon (Universal Rights Group, Geneva)

Felix Ekardt (Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy, Leipzig)


JUSTDECARB Launch Workshop

20 March 2021

Let us invite you to a launch workshop of the JUSTDECARB Project. Our objective is to present the project findings and outputs not only to our academic peers but also to other experts and stakeholders.The workshop will take place on 13 April 14:00 -17:00 (CEST) on Zoom. Participants are invited to join the entire workshop or only the sessions that are of most interest to them. The sessions will present the political, legal, philosophical and economic topics of a just transition that the project will address. The event is free; the registration is required through the link included in the Workshop Invitation.


Photo: Pxfuel.comConference on Climate Change and Human Rights: Save the date

20 February 2021

Mark your calendars for our conference on Climate Change and Human Rights! It will be held on 19 November 2021. The conference will take place at the Academy of Sciences, Prague, and online via Zoom. More details will be available in May 2021.