No One Left Behind: Gold Standard Consults on Driving a Just Transition while Phasing Out Coal


As COP28 in Dubai approaches, it is clear that the global transition away from coal is not happening fast enough. Gold Standard has published a new methodology outlining a pathway for the world to reduce its reliance on coal and facilitate an equitable clean energy transition.

– In the methodology, released for consultation today, Gold Standard outlines steps for the early phase-out of coal-fired thermal power plants, and requirements to ensure a just transition. The methodology presents a strategy for phasing out coal power plants, which are responsible for nearly 20% of global emissions, by substituting renewable energy power plants connected to the same grid. Just Transition requirements, which will be required for coal phase-out projects and beyond, are also published for stakeholder input. Together, they are designed to ensure that the shift to renewable energy generation is equitable, inclusive and leaves no one behind.

Margaret Kim, CEO of Gold Standard, said this:

“The most effective way to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions today is by phasing out coal. Our new methodology alongside the Just Transition requirements represents an initial step to catalyse the decarbonisation of the most polluting sectors while helping communities transition to a new, clean energy paradigm, and will be a strong complement to other forms of policy incentives and private sector investments. Supporting a just transition to clean and renewable energy as we phase out fossil fuels is a priority for Gold Standard at COP28 and beyond.”

Limiting global warming to below 2ºC cannot be achieved without retiring coal power plants 10 to 25 years earlier than their expected operating lifetime. Decommissioning US Power Plants reports the average cost of retiring a coal-fired plant is between $117,000 and $466,000 per mega Watt in the United States, requiring millions of dollars for early shutdowns. Moreover, millions of people rely on coal for their energy and livelihoods; phasing out coal is therefore not merely a technical or an economic problem, it’s a moral imperative and a societal challenge.

Gold Standard has consistently promoted climate solutions that extend beyond environmental benefits. This is why all certified projects must contribute to at least two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in addition to SDG 13 – Climate Action.

The Gold Standard Just Transition Requirements, broader than for coal-phase out alone, use the International Labour Organization's definition of a just transition: “greening the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.”

In practice, this means that project developers must commit to:

  • Ongoing social dialogue and stakeholder consultations,
  • Retaining and retraining workers,
  • Green and decent job creation,
  • Social protection,
  • Environmental protection.

Both consultations are open until 22 December 2023.


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Media Category: Press Release
Event Dates: Thursday, November 23, 2023