The basis on which measures were selected in the climate action plan was to identify those which created least burden and most opportunity. It has also sought to ensure that all sections of our society would contribute and that those most exposed or least equipped to make changes will be supported. Just transition is thus at the heart of the plan.
Certain activities will be particularly exposed, such as the phase-out of coal and peat from power generation. These transitions will be carefully planned and monitored to ensure that those individuals and regions affected will be supported through many policy streams identified in the plan.
The plan also identifies the significant economic opportunities that will open up as a result of the plan's decarbonisation ambitions, including in areas such as: renewables, including offshore technologies, as the installed renewable power capacity goes from 3.5 GW to 17.5 GW; the building retrofit sector, where the 25,000 homes currently participating in energy retrofits represent an estimated €150 million contribution to the economy and where we intend to scale our ambition to achieve 500,000 retrofits by 2030; and new technologies, such as microgeneration, anaerobic digestion, biomass, heat recovery, carbon capture and biomethane, which will come to maturity bringing new business opportunities.
It is encouraging to see how Bord na Móna has been identifying opportunities in the midlands. In addition the recently launched midlands regional enterprise strategy has made opportunities in the decarbonisation economy a key pillar of its plan.
Just transition will also arise in the context of carbon pricing and retrofitting homes. The design of these programs will explicitly take into account the need to address fuel poverty.
To ensure that the theme of just transition is sustained on a consistent basis across the plan a just transition review group will be established within the National Economic and Social Council, NESC, as part of its working group structures. Through this group, NESC will review the ongoing transition and identify specific transition needs among cohorts of workers, enterprises, communities and specific groups of people. It will collaborate and engage with a wide range of stakeholders and will interact closely with my Department’s national dialogue on climate action and sustainable development goals stakeholder forum.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
The climate action plan foresees that the NESC will publish a periodic review and strategic advice on the just transition. This will include an examination of the range of national and international funding opportunities, and how these could be used to underpin the work of this group and the priorities identified. The first periodic review and strategic advice will be published by the end of 2020, and is intended to be a key input to the formulation and adaptation of a five-year just transition strategy.