Promise to set up climate transition commission dropped by Government

Asia's Tech News Daily

The Government has abandoned a pledge to set up a permanent Just Transition Commission to support communities badly affected by climate change policies.

Kieran Mulvey, the current Just Transition Commissioner, will finish up his role at the end of the year and won’t be replaced.

Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan said the aim now was to include just transition supports in all climate policy and actions, rather than treat it as a separate issue.

Mr Mulvey was appointed to assist in identifying and putting in place supports, training and enterprise start-up incentives for workers in the midlands who faced job losses following the decision to finish up commercial peat harvesting sooner than planned.

While his appointment was not permanent, the Programme for Government pledged to establish the position on a statutory basis with a permanent office, staff and other resources. The programme anticipated that similar challenges would “arise in a number of sectors and regions, recognising that there will be a variety of different transitions, and that it is clear that there will be no simple one-size fits all approach”.

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The minister told the Oireachtas climate action committee that the revised Climate Action Plan soon to be published would contain details on just transition.

He said that instead of a single just transition office, he was now looking at the role his department regional authorities might play in delivering just transition measures.

“We will, within the Climate Action Plan and beyond, look at other mechanisms and other ways in which we evolve that,” he said.

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore, who raised the issue, said the change of tack was a concern because the public needed reassurance around climate action measures.

“It was a very positive move that you had that just transition commission as a promise within the Programme for Government and it is disappointing that you now seem to be moving away from that,” she said.

“The Just Transition Commissioner has been focused on a very small area and it needs to be a national commission that looks at this.”

The minister said it would be open to a government to appoint a commissioner for a set period to deal with a particular issue in the future.

The meeting was also told that an official delegation of 30 people would represent Ireland at the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next month.

Mr Ryan, who will lead the group, said they would include government officials, Oireachtas members, academics, non-governmental organisations and young people.

He said Ireland’s priority at the summit would be to push for countries to continue to strive to hold the global temperature rise at a maximum of 1.5C, despite the immense challenges.

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