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Published: 2023-04-24 Updated: 2024-05-07, 16:14

Insights on "Just" Transition – Hanna Lempinen visits Umeå University

NEWS Hanna Lempinen visited Umeå University as a Guest Researcher, and held two seminars on Peat energy.

In April, Hanna Lempinen visited Umeå University as a Guest Researcher at the Department of Political Science. She is a Researcher in International Political Science at the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland, and she has a strong focus on the Arctic and sustainability. During her visit, she held two seminars on peat energy worker’s experiences on Finland’s just transition policies. One of the seminars was held for the Doctoral students at the Arctic Graduate School, and the other was held for a wider audience.

On the seminars, Lempinen talked about the peat energy industry, and how Finland's new transition policies have not recognized the experiences of peat workers. According to Lempinen, peat has historically been an important source of energy security and rural employment, but its adverse environmental and climatic impacts have recently triggered local and national resistance to peat energy. This has led Finland to take action and try to reduce peat energy emissions as a part of reaching climate neutrality.

– However, Finland’s national just transition policies have sidelined its sociocultural aspects by not recognizing the experiences of peat workers, and those involved in peat harvesting. The experiences of those dependent on peat as a livelihood can provide broader insight on the ways in which global energy transition unfold in local contexts, Lempinen shares.

Some of the conclusions Lempinen makes are that the definition and view of “justice” varies greatly depending on where you stand in the situation. To whom is the transistion just? It is important for Governmental organizations to take the people into consideration, however small the groups may be. And as a group affected by a new transition plan, it is important to feel heard and seen, especially when culture and livelihood is involved.

The seminars were led by Linda Lundmark, Head of the Arctic Graduate School, and were a collaboration between the Arctic Centre at Umeå University, the Department of Geography, and Future Forests.