A government-appointed taskforce is due to begin work this month on its recommendations for the new Just Transition Commission.

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan gave the update in response to a recent parliamentary question from Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

The party’s spokesperson on climate sought a progress update on the establishment of the commission and the timeline for its delivery.

The ‘Just Transition’ concept aims to ensure the move towards a climate-neutral economy happens in a fair way.

Just Transition

Minister Ryan said he is continuing to engage with relevant stakeholders to inform his approach to the mandate of the new Just Transition Commission.

On the back of a commitment in Climate Action Plan 2023, the minister said he is establishing a taskforce including farming groups, employers, trade unions, along with social and environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

This taskforce will recommend “a proposed approach to government on how the Just Transition Commission should be constituted”, the minister said.

“It is expected that the taskforce will commence its work in September, with a view to delivering its recommendations in relation to the establishment of a Just Transition Commission by early 2024,” Ryan added.

Minister Eamon Ryan
Minister for the Environment, Eamon Ryan

The Climate Action Plan 2023 contains a framework for a just transition based on the following four principles:

  • An integrated, structured, and evidence-based approach to identify and plan our response to just climate transition requirements;
  • People are equipped with the right skills to be able to participate in and benefit from the future net-zero economy;
  • The costs are shared so that the impact is equitable and existing inequalities are not exacerbated;
  • Social dialogue to ensure impacted citizens and communities are empowered and are core to the transition process.

A report from the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), published in July, also set out a series of recommendations to ensure a “farmer-inclusive” transition process.

The NESC said that funding to reward farmers for protecting and enhancing ecosystems should be “significantly increased”.

“The report will be a key resource for the second phase of the Land Use Review and its recommendations will be considered in the development of the next iteration of the Climate Action Plan,” Minister Ryan said.