Lost in transition: Peat workers’ experiences of Finland's low carbon transition policies

Hanna Lempinen, Annukka Vainio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The contemporary fossil fuel reliant global energy system is facing an urgent demand to transition towards low-carbon energy sources. The challenges posed by this transition vary across different national, political and sociocultural contexts. This article takes a focus on Finland and its contested transition away from peat energy as a case study of localized implications of international decarbonization policies. As a part of Finland's aspirations towards climate neutrality by 2035, the use of historically important energy peat is coming to an abrupt end. As a result, people deriving their livelihoods from peat extraction are experiencing the dramatic decline of energy peat demand and the shortcomings of national energy transition policies first-hand. Relying on data collected through a survey targeted to Finnish peat industry workers (n = 400), this article maps the experiences of those most affected by the ongoing transition and sheds light on their expectations for and experiences of the country's “just” transition. The article draws attention to distributive, procedural, restorative and recognition injustices experienced by the nation's peat entrepreneurs. The failures of the Finnish peat transition can be learned from in planning more just and inclusive transition policies on the path towards a socially just low-carbon energy system in a global world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101312
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Decarbonization
  • Energy
  • Finland
  • Just transition
  • Peat

Field of science

  • Environmental sciences
  • Social policy


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