Government Announces Establishment of a Just Transition Commission

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** See our press release on this here**

We were very pleased by the Government’s decision to establish a Just Transition Commission. By including representatives of important stakeholder groups, the commission will advise the Government on ‘how Ireland will deliver on its climate ambitions while ensuring no one is left behind.’ This is a significant step forward following years of advocacy by climate campaigners and unions, who have called for this to ensure a fair transition for all when addressing climate change. 

With the recent Earth Day conference still fresh in our minds, we are reminded again of the need for systemic change to address the interconnected crises of climate change and inequality in Irish society. Currently, Ireland’s existing climate policy approach is lacking in just transition, so it is vital the government considers factors such as equality, poverty, and impacts on marginalised groups, especially in a society where these inequalities are worsening. 

Commenting on the announcement, Oisín Coghlan, emphasised the importance of stakeholder involvement in achieving a just transition: 

“Friends of the Earth has been working with our allies in the trade union movement on the issue of a just transition for five years now. Two years ago, we launched a formal alliance calling on Government to set up a national Just Transition Commission. It’s critical that there’s a space where representatives of businesses, unions, farmers, environmentalists and social NGOs can sit down with officials and experts to discuss how we reduce our polluting emissions fast enough to contain climate breakdown in a way that reduces poverty and inequality. The scientists and engineers are telling us clearly what we need to do to cut pollution but we need everything from stakeholder perspectives to community development skills to ensure Government does it fairly."

We are pleased to note that the Government has incorporated many recommendations from the alliance, including a comprehensive definition of Just Transition. This definition emphasises the importance of social dialogue, promoting decent living standards, and proactive planning to anticipate change. It points out the need to support and develop sustainable and quality jobs, reskilling and training, and inclusive support for communities affected by the transition. 

The collective efforts of various groups involved to make this happen show how climate change impacts many spaces within our society, and the recognition that necessary changes need to be made by working together.  There is more common ground than we realise among businesses, unions, farmers, environmentalists, and social NGOs on the need for a Just Transition when addressing the climate crisis.

While there is still a lot more work ahead to ensure effective Government action on climate change and just transition, by working together, and by building movement power, we can bring about the system change needed for a just world for both people and our planet.