About Me

I research and write about climate and environmental justice, just transition– how to transition to a low carbon economy in a way that protects workers and communities, labor/climate coalitions, and the relationship between inequality and the climate crisis. Currently, I am an assistant professor in the environmental studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I am also a Fellow at Cornell University’s Worker Institute. I’m also on the Board of Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment (CRPE), Greenpeace USA Fund, and Welcome Ideas. My previous work experience includes Adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law, Associate Director at PolicyLink, Senior Policy Analyst at Demos, Director of Campaign Research/ Policy Director at Urban Agenda (now ALIGN), Senior Policy Analyst at the Progressive States Network, and visiting legal scholar positions at CRPE, ICIMOD and IUCN.


  • Daniel Aldana Cohen, J. Mijin Cha, Nick Graetz, Aaryaman Singhal, Raka Sen, “Securing Climate Justice Federally:A Political Economy Approach to Targeted Investments,” Environmental Justice (Nov. 2022)
  • A. P. Ravikumar, E. Baker, A. Bates, D. Nock, D. Venkataraman, T. Johnson, M. Ash, S. Z. Attari, K. Bowie, S. Carley, S. Castellanos, M. Cha, D. L. Clark, D. Deane-Ryan, D. Djokic, J. C. Ford, A. Goldstein, E. Grubert, L. Hu, D. M. Kammen, U. Kosar, C. Miller, M. Pastor and M. Tuominen, “Enabling an equitable energy transition through inclusive research”, Nature Energy, (Oct. 2022)
  • J. Mijin Cha and Manual Pastor, “Just transition: Framing, organizing, and power-building for decarbonization,” Energy Research and Social Science, Volume 90 (August, 2022)
  • J. Mijin Cha, Caroline Farrell, and Dimitris Stevis, “Climate and Environmental Justice Policies in the First Year of the Biden Administration,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism, (May 2022) https://doi.org/10.1093/publius/pjac017
  • J. Mijin Cha, Dimitris Stevis, Todd Vachon, Vivian Price, and Maria Brescia-Weiler, “A Green New Deal for all: The centrality of a worker and community-led just transition in the US,” Political Geography, Vol. 95 (2022)102594
  • J. Mijin Cha, “The Fight for Climate Justice in the Biden-Harris Administration,” Global Dialogue, Vol. 11, issues 1 (Feb, 2021).
  • J. Mijin Cha, “A just transition for whom? Politics, contestation, and social identity in the disruption of coal in the Powder River Basin”, Energy Research and Social Science, Volume 69 (November, 2020) 101657.
  • J. Mijin Cha, “Just Transition: Tools for Protecting Workers and Their Communities at Risk of Displacement Due to Climate Policy,” in Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030, a report in fulfillment CA AB 398 (Sept, 2020).
  • J. Mijin Cha, Madeline Wander, and Manuel Pastor, “Environmental Justice, Just Transition, and a Low-Carbon Future for California,” Environmental Law Reporter, ELR 10216 (March, 2020), available here, or I can send you a PDF.
  • “We the People: Voting Rights, Campaign Finance, and Election Reform,” in We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism- American Style, (New Press, 2020), available here.
  • “Learning from the New York Experiment: Managing a Just Transition to a Low-Carbon Future,” in the Public Administration Review online symposium (June, 2019) on the Green New Deal.
  • “From the Dirty Past to the Clean Future: Addressing historic energy injustices with a just transition to a low-carbon future,” in the first edition, Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice (Routledge, 2018) available here.
  • J. Mijin Cha, Jane Holgate, and Karel Yon, “Emergent Cultures of Activism: Young People and the Building of Alliances Between Unions and Other Social Movements,” Work and Occupations, First Published July 4, 2018. Available here, or email me and I can send you a PDF.
  • “A Just Transition: Why Transitioning Workers into a New Clean Energy Economy Should Be at the Center of Climate Change Policies,” 29 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 196 (2017).
  • “Labor Leading on Climate: A Policy Platform to Address Rising Inequality and Rising Sea Levels in New York State,” 34 Pace Envtl L. Rev. 423 (2017)
  • “Changing Climate and Changing Rights: Exploring Legal and Policy Frameworks for Indigenous Mountain Communities in Nepal,” in Climate Change and Indigenous People (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013)
  • “Increasing Access to Environmental Justice: A Resource Book for Advocacy and Legal Literacy in South Asia” Published by ICIMOD, ISBN 978 92 9115 021 2. (2007)
  • “Access to Justice in the United States: Embracing Environmental and Social Concerns to Achieve Environmental Justice.” in Access to Environmental Justice: Comparative Perspectives (Martinus Nijhoff, 2007).
  • “Environmental Justice in Rural South Asia: Applying Lessons Learned from the U.S. in Fighting for Indigenous Communities’ Rights and Access to Common Resources,” Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Vol. 19:185 (2007).
  • “A Critical Examination of the Environmental Jurisprudence of the Courts of India,” 10 Alb. L. Envtl. Outlook 197 (2005).


Co-principle investigator with Manuel Pastor, States Matter: Developing Policies and Building Power for Just Transition, Nathan Cummings Foundation, September 2019-present.

Principle Investigator, Just Transition Roadmap, Climate Equity Network, July 2018-March 2019.


  • J. Mijin Cha, Manuel Pastor, Cynthia Moreno, and Matt Phillips, “Just Transition/Transition to Justice: Power, Policy, and Possibilities,” (June 2021) available here
  • J. Mijin Cha, Vivian Price, Dimitris Stevis, and Todd Vachon, with Maria Brecia-Wailer, “Workers and Communities in Transition: Report of the Just Transition Listening Project,” (March 2021) available here.
  • J. Mijin Cha with Manuel Pastor, Madeline Wander, James Sadd, and Rachel Morello-Frosch, “A Roadmap to an Equitable Low-Carbon Future: Four Pillars for a Just Transition,” (April, 2019) available here.


I hold a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Cornell University, a J.D. from UC Hastings, College of the Law, and LLM and PhD degrees from the Univ. of London, SOAS. My PhD thesis, Law, Justice & the Environment: A Comparative Analysis of Access to Justice Movements in India and the U.S., can be found in the depths of the SOAS library in London.

Finally, the great Ta-Nehisi Coates once wished me Happy Birthday. It remains one of the best birthday presents ever.


4 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Cathy Gibert says:

    Thank you for your work! I was introduced to you through Karen Hunter Show (2/22/16). Your exchange and POV was/is brilliant! I wish you continued success and access as you carry on for humanity. #woke


  2. Pingback: J. MIJI CHA – Karen Hunter Show

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