Unions warn of high costs, job losses in call for 'clear road map'
Business and union leaders broadly welcomed the Climate Action Plan but some signalled that, for the vision to become reality, the Government must support the move to new technologies and jobs with sufficient financial firepower.
"For Irish business, the low-carbon transition presents a no-regrets opportunity to build a better Ireland," said Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy.
"If we focus on smart, cost-effective and evidence-based policies, we can use the transition to enhance our energy security, boost competitiveness, improve quality of life, and create thousands of sustainable jobs across the country."
But Chambers Ireland cautioned that many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and households would need Government help to pay the bills that come with change.
"Successfully transitioning to a low-carbon economy will incur large up-front costs and we shouldn't assume that SMEs and consumers will be able to absorb these costs on their own. They will need assistance," said Ian Talbot, chief executive of Chambers Ireland.
ICTU warned that union members employed in energy generation and natural resources companies needed reassurance that leaving behind traditional modes of power generation wouldn't lead to lower incomes or the dole queue.
Jim Dullaghan, chairman of ICTU's Energy Sector Committee, said the Government "must address potential job losses across the sector and the creation of replacement employment opportunities".
He said: "Workers and their families have to see a clear road map from one to the other and be assured that every effort will be made to create decent replacement jobs."