Linking climate justice and just transitions discourses: Regional- and local-scale counter-hegemonic struggles for a post-carbon society (16850)
The Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia, is a globally significant coal mining and exporting region, accounting for around half of Australia’s quarter share of international coal trade. In addition to coal exports, the Hunter is home to coal-fired power stations producing 40 per cent of Australia’s electricity. The Hunter economy’s strong basis in fossil fuel production and consumption is increasingly challenged by civil society campaigns employing environmental and climate justice discourses. This paper analyses two regional- and local-scale civil society campaigns in the Hunter region (‘Stop the T4’ and ‘Groundswell’) seeking to counter to fossil fuel interests’ hegemony. Such campaigns can open up possibilities for just transitions away from fossil fuel dependent economies. Just transitions discourses are typically associated with organised labour rather than geographic communities, and there may be significant synergy in aligning community and union interests in a shared effort to undermine the discursive dominance of fossil fuel interests. However, the continuing hegemony of the fossil fuel sector mitigates against efforts to build solidarity amongst local communities and environmental and climate justice campaign goals on the one hand, and workers, their unions and just transition goals on the other.