I published the Government's Climate Action Plan 2019 on 17 June. The plan sets out, for the first time, how Ireland can reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and also puts Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan has been strongly informed by the ground-breaking work of the Citizens Assembly and the work of the All Party Committee on Climate Action, chaired by Deputy Hildegarde Naughton, which managed to achieve a broad cross-Party consensus on a number of difficult issues.
I welcome, in particular, the fact that the Joint Committee identified, as a central concern, the need to ensure that climate action is fair, and that vulnerable citizens, workers and communities are protected. The Committee also highlighted the importance of exploring opportunities to green existing jobs, and creating new jobs in areas such as energy retrofitting for buildings, sustainable forestry and peatland restoration. This is also a core objective of the Government’s Climate Action Plan.
The key features of the Committee’s proposal for a Just Transition Taskforce are reflected in the Climate Action Plan's proposal that a Just Transition Review Group will be established within the National Economic and Social Council 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.
The Just Transition Review Group 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.
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.