Climate change demands a just transition
Sir, – At Tasc, the Think Tank for Action on Social Change, we admire the work of entrepreneurs such as Norman Crowley, as profiled in The Irish Times (“Extinction rebellion just ‘more of the same shit that hasn’t worked’”, Business, April 26th) and recognise the importance of technological advances in addressing climate change.
However, technological advances and inventions, while absolutely necessary, cannot become the principal response to the enormous threats posed by climate change to our environment, economies and livelihoods.
Neither, unfortunately, can climate change be tackled solely by middle-class families making lifestyle choices to eat less meat or install solar panels.
Climate change affects every person in Ireland and so planning for it, and making the changes that are necessary to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions rapidly is something that we must all be involved in.
Tasc is currently leading on a number of projects under our Just Transition programme.
A “just transition” is the idea of involving people in the decisions that must be made to address climate change and then working collectively in moving forward.
In Ireland, sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture all need to undergo rapid transformative change.
However, making those changes – even if they do involve the most amazing inventions – without simultaneously taking into account the needs of workers and their communities, will potentially have very negative social and political consequences (witness events in France) that could undermine climate action.
Ending our dependence on fossil fuels and moving to a low-carbon future, as Norman Crowley speaks about, does indeed offer economic opportunity.
However, these opportunities can only be truly realised if workers and communities (and consumers) are involved in the transition and if the Government is fully committed to protecting and enhancing the public interest.
Inventions alone will not accomplish this. – Yours, etc,
Tasc – The Think Tank
on Social Change,