NERI inBrief – A Just Transition demands a skills upgrade for the Irish economy
The latest NERI inBrief summarises our recent paper on a just transition for workers in the Republic of Ireland. The Republic of Ireland remains worryingly behind on many indicators of sustainability, including carbon emissions reduction.
The paper identifies high emitting carbon sectors where workers may need access to services and support to upskill for new green tasks and jobs. Finally, the paper identifies opportunities to mobilise underutilised skills to drive the transition.
A key aspect of any Just Transition will be identifying workers at risk and ensuring they, and the wider workforce, are adequately skilled for new green tasks and jobs. NERI economist Paul Goldrick-Kelly points out that “Transition effects will likely be concentrated where emissions are highest - six sectors account for less than 9 per cent of employment but nearly 90 per cent of non-household emissions”.
Co-author Ciarán Nugent notes “Many regions are disproportionately reliant on carbon intensive jobs. Our analysis also signals challenges for some at risk workers, significant levels of underused skills and the need to improve our education system to meet the challenge”.
The paper argues that public policy to enable regional clustering and ensure a sufficient demand for green skills through investment is crucial. The integration of high level planning and goal setting with more local institutions is essential if a timely Just Transition is to be realised.