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18th September 2019 | Climate Change, Economy, Energy, Press Releases, Regional Development

Ireland needs strong supports for communities impacted by the move away from fossil fuels – Greens

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We need to learn the lessons of other countries and work to protect communities impacted by efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The Green Party today launched its Just Transition Bill which will put in place a framework that aims to prepare those affected by the switch to a low emission future.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD said:

“If we don’t act to create strong policies for a just transition for workers in fossil-fuel industries, the change to a green, low-carbon economy will risk creating economic and social injustices which we have seen in the mining communities in Wales and the North of England, or the ‘rust-belts’ of the US.

“The Government cannot ignore the need to go green, but they also can’t ignore the need to ensure that no worker is left behind in the new green economy. Those who work in fossil fuels should be transitioned into a new economy that has working conditions and pay at least as decent as what they left behind.”

Green Party Deputy Leader Catherine Martin TD added:

“What this piece of legislation will do is set up a Just Transition Commission which will bring together all relevant stakeholders, workers, employers, communities, along with environmental experts.

“This group will then develop plans to ensure that the future green economy is a fairer, more just and more sustainable economy and community for all than we have now.”

Green Party Agriculture Spokesperson and Seanad byelection candidate, Cllr Pippa Hackett said:

“This is needed more than ever. I have seen the impact that the end of peat cutting and burning will have in my constituency. The people need to be engaged with, they need support, and more than ever they need a plan for jobs and enterprise to replace what is lost. With this bill comes opportunity and hope.”

The Green Party Bill – which is based on Bernie Sanders’ Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act 2015 and Scotland’s Just Transition Commission – will set up a Just Transition Commission which will:

  • Provide a mediation service to allow communities a forum to discuss, and place on a legal basis, their chosen transition paths;
  • Facilitate the development of just transition plans which will encourage new sustainable jobs, infrastructure, up-skilling, training and development for areas reliant on carbon-intensive industry;
  • Ensure Government actively considers employment issues when developing climate policies and designs low carbon infrastructure with the aim of creating decent high-value work;
  • Advise Government on securing a fair transition away from fossil fuels that ensures specific carbon-intensive industries, the people they employ, and the communities reliant on those industries can maximise the opportunities of a low carbon future;
  • Provide advice to Government Departments in their decarbonisation plans, and how to deliver fair work and tackle inequalities through a sustainable and inclusive labour market;
  • Assist State bodies in planning for and invest in a transition to environmentally and socially sustainable jobs.