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NESC publishes Council Report 147: Climate-Change Policy: Getting the Process Right


‘Getting the Process Right to Deliver on Climate Change’

There is a growing consensus that ambitious action is needed if we are to stop climate change. Ireland is ready to do more as evident from the efforts of our children and young people, as well as the Oireachtas Joint Committee’s report and ongoing work to produce an all-of-Government plan. To safeguard our future, protect coming generations, achieve a just transition and meet international obligations, actions have to urgently and continuously deliver results.

Today’s report from National Economic and Social Council (NESC), Climate Change Policy: Getting the Process Right, focuses on how to combine an ambitious long-term climate change mission with an urgent and active policy process that can discover, try out and support practical actions that reduce carbon emissions.

A key challenge we face is that there are few fully-known, easy or cheap actions to significantly reduce carbon emissions. National and international experience shows that there are deep uncertainties about how to tackle climate change: about which technologies and solutions to adopt, their costs, the willingness of companies, households or individuals to bear these uncertain costs and, overall, uncertainty about how to achieve such a wide-ranging systemic transition to a low-carbon future.

The transport sector illustrates these uncertainties and challenges and this is detailed in this report. People working in the sector and experts agree on what is needed: a mobility system that is more effective and less polluting. However, they are clear that achieving a low-carbon transport system will not be either easy or cheap. To be truly ambitious about climate change we need to grapple with, not gloss over, this uncertainty and complexity.

With Government preparing a new climate action plan, the NESC welcomes the Action Plan for Jobs type-approach it is likely to adopt. Director Dr Rory O’Donnell said ‘the Council suggests that Government will rightly focus on checking the implementation of actions and deliverables which its report is likely to contain. But Government must also create a process that gives agencies, enterprises and civil society the power to explore and cost new solutions which work in specific contexts. As agencies, companies or local groups learn about the potential of new ideas, Government must then organise the pooling of this knowledge and its inclusion into an ever more ambitious and just national climate policy’’.

The Council welcomes the recent proposal of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action for the establishment of a Climate Action Implementation Board, similar to the process it outlines. The Committee on Climate Action propose that this should be established in the Department of the Taoiseach. Through it Government could both check implementation and allow sectoral agencies and actors to explore and test new solutions.

Note to Editors

A research report, prepared by Dr Laura Devaney and Dr Diarmuid Torney, of DCU, on the institutional and governance dimensions of the Irish transport sector (NESC Research Series No.13) is published alongside this report.

For further information on the transport research report, please contact: or

For further information, for copy of the report or to arrange an interview, please contact NESC Director Dr Rory O’Donnell,

To view the full report click here

To view the research report click here

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