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NESC Final Report

NESC Final Report

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NESC Final Report in full
NESC Final Report in full

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Published by: KHumphreysTD on Jun 19, 2013
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Ireland and the Climate Change Challenge:
Connecting ‘How Much’ with ‘How To’
Final Report of the NESC Secretariat to the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
December 2012
Preface iiiAcknowledgements ivExecutive Summary v
Part I: Vision and Analysis
The Challenge 12.
Vision: Purpose, Sight and Possibility 43.
Thinking for Ourselves: Three Ideas 104.
Our Approach: Guiding Principles 31
Part II: Working on Three Tracks
A Three Track Approach 356. Track 1
Strategic and Institutional Action 377. Track 2
Exploration and Experimentation 668. Track 3
Design andImplementation 75
Part III: Conclusion
9. Way Forward
—Ireland’s Carbon
-Neutral Future 85Supporting Material 87References 88Abbreviations 90Glossary of Terms 91
The science of climate change is unambiguously pointing towards a challenge of enormousproportions and the need for immediate and sustained action. The NESC Secretariat wasprivileged to be asked by the Government to undertake work on this issue. It was unusualfor us to work directly for government, rather than in the service of the NESC Council.Despite this freedom, we found that our engagement with the Council
whose membersare from diverse economic and social backgrounds and are some of the leading experts oneconomic, social and environmental issues
greatly enhanced the work. Beyond theCouncil, we were astonished by the level of innovation and thinking on carbon reduction incompanies, civil-society organisations, agencies and departments. We believe that aconstructive
though still very challenging
conversation on climate change is nowunderway in Ireland.In its 2011
Review of Ireland’s Cl 
imate Change Strategy 
the Department of the Environment,Community and Local Government suggested that Ireland must move beyond a compliance-centric approach. In our view, moving beyond a compliance-centric approach meansthinking for ourselves. In its
Strategy Statement 2011
, our parent department, theDepartment of the Taoiseach, says that its approach in the future will be guided by a
number of principles, including ‘the need to avoid groupthink’ and ‘the importance of open
discussion, listening t
o discordant voices and challenging conformist thinking’. We have
taken the advice of both departments to heart.The more the work progressed the more we were drawn back to the environmentalist
principle ‘think global, act local’. ‘Act local’ is strongl
y confirmed in our work. First andforemost, it means that Ireland must get on with the job of decarbonisation. But it says thatwe can only do that by taking our local context seriously
right down to local farmingpractices, the installation of the smart grid and the difficulties of switching from the car inrural areas and cities. But local complexity and difficulty should no longer be seen as areason not to act, rather they reveal the knowledge that makes it possible to act effectively.We are very positive about the opportunity that transition to carbon neutrality offers toIreland and our ability to achieve it.To
global is to admit our collective current lack of knowledge of how
technically,politically and organisationally
we are to achieve global decarbonisation in a context of increasing population, incomes and energy demand. It was never more important that webring our best knowledge and experience of how to create truly effective internationalinstitutions to bear. It means we must not fool others, and ourselves, to believe the fallacyof composition that the whole world can achieve emissions reduction in the manner inwhich Europe did in the past two decades. To think global is to avoid the righteousness withwhich one continent tends to address another on climate change.As we complete this project, we remain troubled by the failure of international climate-change policy and the prospect for humanity if it continues on the same path. Theparadoxical yearnings that bedevil international climate-change policy were captured by theseventeenth-century Japanese poet Basho in this oddly prescient haiku:
even in Kyoto,when I hear the cuckoo,I long for Kyoto

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