Gemma O’Reilly joined NESC as a policy analyst in 2023. Her work focuses on climate change and sustainability issues. Prior to joining NESC, Gemma worked as economist for the secretariat to the Irish Climate Change Advisory Council.
During her time with the CCAC, she led the work programme on Carbon Budgets from 2019 to 2021, which led to the CCAC’s first carbon budget proposals to Government. She also collaborated with the OECD in the production of their report “Redesigning Ireland’s Transport for Net Zero; towards systems that work for people and the planet” in 2022.
Prior to her work with the CCAC, Gemma worked with the EPA Climate Change Research Programme leading in the area of socioeconomic, technology and transition management. During this time, Gemma supported the development and use of socioeconomic modelling of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland. She also authored the influential 2012 report “Addressing Climate Change Challenges” which introduced the vision of carbon neutrality to the Irish policy system.
Gemma was a member of the Irish delegation to the UNFCCC from 2008 to 2018. During this time, Gemma acted as a negotiator for the EU on climate finance issues and negotiated key elements in the 2015 Paris Agreement. In 2017, Gemma was nominated by the EU as a member of the UNFCCC Standing Committee on Climate Finance which she held for two years. Gemma was an Irish Government delegate to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2009 and 2021.
From 2018 to 2023, Gemma was chair of the supervisory board of the SED fund which supports just transition and climate action in developing countries by aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals through a venture philanthropy model, providing seed and scale up funding to impactful organisations and programmes. Gemma was chair of the OECD’s Working Party on Climate, Investment and Development in 2022/2023 and is a bureau member of the OECD Working Party on Climate Change.
Gemma was previously an economist for the UK government working on water quality, climate change and transport modelling. She holds an M.Sc. in Environmental Policy, an M.A. in Economics and B.A.(hons) in Economics and Philosophy.
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