Political Economy Seminar: "Who Opposes Fossil Fuel Phase-Outs and How Can Re-Skilling Help Address the Backlash?"

Veranstaltung |

Who Opposes Fossil Fuel Phase-Outs 
and How Can Re-Skilling Help Address the Backlash?

Florian Egli
ETH Zürich

When: 26 June 2023, 12:15 - 13:45

Where: HfP (Richard-Wagner-Str.1), Room H.414 or

Keycode: PE23

Dr. Florian Egli is a Senior Researcher and a Lecturer at ETH Zurich, as well as an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) at UCL. His dissertation, entitled "The role of finance in mitigating climate change: Insights for public policy," won the ETH medal for outstanding doctoral theses and the best dissertation award from the Swiss Association of Energy Economics (SAEE). Florian is an inaugural member of the Swiss Young Academy and served as its speaker 2022/23. He holds a Master’s degree in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics (minor in Ecology) from the University of Bern.

Addressing climate change requires cutting emissions drastically, including a rapid phase out of most fossil fuels. Such rapid changes, however, can lead to electoral backlash, as shown by examples from the United States and Norway. To address such backlash, policy frameworks (e.g., the EU’s Green Deal and the US Inflation Reduction Act) acknowledge that workers employed in declining industries need support for a "just transition" to decent alternative jobs. Yet, an effective policy response is currently limited by knowledge gaps regarding the transferability of skills between green, fossil fuel, and neutral jobs; the regional and sectoral distribution of these jobs; and the role of reskilling in bridging skill gaps. Florian Egli, based on joint work with Felix Zaussinger and Tobias Schmidt, proposes a novel conceptual framework grounded in complexity science and applies it to the case of the European low-carbon transition. The analysis shows important regional differences in the labor market structure and outlines the potential benefits of targeted re-skilling for workers in negatively affected occupations.