Fair Energy Transition for All

October 2020 - January 2022
King Baudouin Foundation
Organisation and facilitation of 10 citizen focus groups. Organisation and facilitation of a citizens' assembly of 30 citizens from the different focus groups.
To achieve international greenhouse gas reduction targets while avoiding the entrenchment of social and economic inequalities. A system for listening to citizens in a situation of fuel poverty is organised in 9 Member States of the European Union (Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania). It is about helping to design public policies that not only mitigate the serious effects of climate change, but also take into account the interests of those whose voices are generally not represented or heard in politics and policy making. Missions Publiques is involved in this European project to represent France in partnership with the Institut Montaigne, which is more specifically in charge of organising the expert groups.

Context and objectives

Global warming is prompting European governments to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially those related to energy.

The energy transition requires policy measures that have an impact on housing, energy, transport and other aspects of our daily lives. Socially and economically disadvantaged groups are most affected by the distributional effects of climate policies, such as increased fuel taxes or the closure of coal mines.

The protests of the “yellow vests” movement in France that broke out in reaction to rising fuel prices are a striking example: Many feel alienated by climate policies perceived as an elitist issue – disconnected from their realities and ignoring their interests.


The perspectives of these citizens need to be taken into account in the development of climate policies to ensure wider public acceptance and a comprehensive response to their distributive effects. It is therefore also a question of helping to combat growing polarisation, institutional mistrust and climate scepticism in European societies.


The principle is to start from people’s experience and adapt concrete solutions, while taking into account the results of current knowledge and studies on the subject:

  • How can we ensure that the costs and benefits of the energy transition are shared equitably in society?
  • How can Europe and countries prevent policies from hitting the poorest households hardest?
  • How best to combine action for energy transition and social justice

Developing equitable energy transition policies?

Terms of the mission

The listening process will run from 2020 to 2022 and will have both a national and a European dimension.

Phase 1

  • The dialogues with vulnerable people will take place at national level in the 9 countries concerned.
  • Their results will be discussed by stakeholders and policy makers at the national level.
  • The reflections of the various national stakeholder and expert meetings will be complemented by a European Stakeholder Task Force.
  • Stakeholders will develop policy recommendations for a just energy transition.

Phase 2

  • A second phase through citizens’ assemblies in each country, made up of participants in the focus group of phase 1, for the examination and finalisation of the opinions.

Conclusions and transmissions

  • The final results will then be published at national level and in a synthesis for the European level. These reports will provide an overview of the position of vulnerable people on energy transition and suggestions for the development of equitable energy transition policies.

Following the listening process, the results will be presented to key decision-makers in order to raise awareness of the concerns and ideas of vulnerable people and to promote their inclusion in the policy-making process.

Key figures

focus groups

Added value of the approach

Involve and listen to vulnerable groups in particular and position them upstream and downstream of the system to develop solutions.

  • To better understand the views, fears and emotions of vulnerable people on the energy transition and its current and potential impact on their living conditions.
  • To provide evidence-based input on the realities of the most vulnerable citizens, to national and European policy makers, researchers and stakeholders in the development of equitable energy transition policies.


The King Baudouin Foundation is coordinating a consortium of European foundations to pave the way for a fair energy transition in Europe (Cariplo Foundation, Ikea Foundation, Deutsch Bunddestiffung Umwelt, Stiftung Mercator, Open society European society institute).

The European part of this project is led by the following partners: Climate Outreach, IFOK, Eurpean Policy Centre.