Comments from Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan on the new Just Transition Commission have been described as “too simplistic a spin” by one senator.

Senator Victor Boyhan said that this commission will “not be the only public voice for the Just Transition”.

Yesterday, (Thursday, May 2), Minister Ryan announced that he had secured government agreement for the establishment of the Just Transition Commission.

It follows publication of a report by the Just Transition Taskforce, which was set up last year to shape the formation of this new commission.

The role of the commission will be to:

  • Prepare and analyse research in relation to the Just Transition to inform long-term climate policy and investment planning;
  • Evaluate, advise and comment on policy planning, and on the implementation and progress on the application of Ireland’s Just Transition principles;
  • Provide advice and engagement on the Just Transition, supporting the National Dialogue on Climate Action, as well as any dialogue on climate or just transition matters within individual sectors;
  • Undertake engagement with particular communities, sectors or regions facing specific acute or long-term challenges arising from the transition, and advise government on interventions or targeted supports for them.

According to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communication, the commission will be made up of nominees from five ‘pillars’ of social dialogue, of which agriculture is one. The other four pillars are community and voluntary; employer; environment; and trade unions.

The commission will also include individuals with relevant expertise on areas including human rights and equality; skills development; rural and community development; social inclusion; economic ‘green’ transition; and youth perspectives. The commission will also have an independent chair.

Commenting on the commission, Minister Ryan said: “A Just Transition is the fastest way to a green transition, and the only way that guarantees that we bring everybody with us as we move to a climate-neutral economy.

“The commission will be the public voice of the Just Transition. It will work to anticipate and inform long-term climate policy by focusing on the potential impacts, risks and opportunities arising from the climate transition for different sectors of the economy and society.”

However, Boyhan said that the commission’s members will have to reflect the views of farmers, foresters and fishers before it could claim to the “public voice of a Just Transition”.

“Minister Ryan said that the commission will be the public voice of the Just Transition. That is too simplistic a spin. Just Transition is everyone’s concern. Farm organisations, NGOs (non-government organisations) and citizens must be empowered and resourced to voice their legitimate concerns too,” he said.

“The minister has stated he will launch a recruitment campaign to appoint members to the new commission shortly… I want to see strong representation from the farming, forestry and fishing industry sectors on the Just Transition Commission,” Boyhan added.

Just Transition Commission

Minister Ryan’s department said that the commission will compliment the role of the Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) and will provide advice on “how Ireland can ensure no one is left behind while delivering on its climate ambitions”.

After the recruitment campaign, it’s envisaged that the commission will be established and hold its first meeting in the third quarter of the year.