Mapping regional vulnerability in Europe’s energy transition: development and application of an indicator to assess declining employment in four carbon-intensive industries

Article - March 9, 2023

In this article we map the economic vulnerability of European regions in terms of employment losses in four carbon-intensive industries caused by ambitious decarbonisation scenarios. To this end, we develop a composite vulnerability indicator that combines each region’s share of employment in those high-carbon industries with other dimensions of vulnerability and resilience. Then, we develop four scenarios using the European model PRIMES and explore how the technology pathway to 2050 is shaping regional patterns of vulnerability.

A fist insight is that economic vulnerability to the low-carbon transition is more pronounced in regions with high employment shares in prone-to-decline industries, with weak adaptive capacity and high pre-existing unemployment.

A second insight is that the levels of regional vulnerability are more or less the same across transition pathways, since all scenarios compatible with 1.5 °C involve a large drop in all assessed high-carbon sectors.

The research concludes that these regions may be in need of additional policy support to diversify their economies and achieve a just transition, and by doing so, minimize the negative consequences of the transition.

The full article, supported by H2020 projects INNOPATHS and CINTRAN, is accessible here