Just transition must be more than a buzz word or branding

The government must ensure there is a fair deal for workers and communities as we move to a zero-carbon economy and society, according to Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore made her comments as she introduced legislation – the Just Transition (Worker and Community Environmental Rights) Bill 2021 – in the Dáil today.

“Climate action is one of the key priorities of the Social Democrats and our Just Transition Bill will ensure there is a fair deal for workers, farmers and communities as we make the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“People can sometimes be confused by the jargon that we use when we talk about climate action and our climate action targets. What we mean by just transition is a fair deal for those who are impacted most by climate mitigation measures.

“We cannot have a situation whereby people are penalised, or left behind, as we try to do the right thing and take radical steps to achieve our climate action goals.

“This was originally a Green Party piece of legislation – Eamon Ryan introduced it to the Dáil in 2018. However, it has not been progressed while they have been in government.

“In fact, the notion of a just transition has been entirely absent from climate action legislation pursued by the Green Party in government. The words “just transition” were not even mentioned in the first draft of the Climate Action Act. The Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action fought to include it, but the government refused to define the term or include just transition principles in the legislation.

“I have addressed this lacuna with this legislation, having updated the original Green Party Bill to include a comprehensive definition of just transition along with just transition principles.

“When I, and other TDs, sought to do this with the Climate Action Bill we were told it was unworkable. However, Scotland has included a just transition definition and principles very successfully in similar legislation. They have established a just transition commission, which is exactly what we need and is proposed in this legislation.

“The Greens, and other parties in government, frequently use the term just transition but it has become nothing more than a buzz word or branding. They are not following their words with concrete action.

“The question for the Green Party now is – will they deliver on that they promised, and create a just transition commission, or oppose their own updated legislation?”

15 September, 2021


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