Irish climate scientist appointed to senior UN role

Dr Tara Shine to monitor progress and enhance delivery on Paris Agreement goals

Irish climate expert Dr Tara Shine has been appointed to a senior UN role with a brief to improve co-ordination between climate scientists and policymakers in meeting key Paris Agreement targets on containing global temperature rise.

Dr Shine has been appointed co-facilitator of the Structured Expert Dialogue under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This will feed into the second periodic review of the long-term goal to hold global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and preferrably 1.5 degrees.

It will assess progress towards the goal and identify challenges and opportunities for achieving it.


She has worked as an international climate change negotiator and adviser to governments and world leaders on environmental policy.

She was special adviser to the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice group and to The Elders, before setting up Change by Degrees, a sustainability consultancy based in Kinsale, Co Cork.

Minister for Climate Action Eamon Ryan said her appointment was "recognition of her wealth of experience and engagement as an environmental scientist, international climate change negotiator and adviser to governments and world leaders on environmental and climate policy – and matters of climate justice".

It also reflected Ireland’s commitment to a science-based approach to climate decision making, and need to continually engage with other countries on the shared global climate challenge, he said.

“It is fundamental that we listen to the scientific evidence and what is it telling us about the future of our planet.”

Dr Shine, who is chair of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said she looked forward to co-facilitating dialogue between scientists and policy makers.

“Our work together will assess the progress made to achieve the 1.5-degree goal and the opportunities we have today to provide a safe climate system for future generations.”

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times