New climate advisers to help guide carbon budgets in Ireland

13 Oct 2021

Image: © Sundry Photography/

The Climate Change Advisory Council has been given a strengthened role to advise the Government on carbon budgets.

The Government has appointed four new members to Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council and approved the first set of climate regulations.

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Act 2021 widens the scope of this independent advisory body, which was established in 2016 to assess how Ireland is making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Future Human

The council has been given a strengthened role to advise and propose carbon budgets to Government. The new act also addresses the make-up of councils, with a focus on gender balance and scientific expertise.

“A critical part of our transition to a low-carbon society is the provision of accurate and timely advice,” said Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD.

“The Climate Change Advisory Council needs to have a broad and diverse balance of skills and experience that will advise Government on both carbon budgets and progress on implementation of the Climate Action Plan.”

The four new appointees are Dr Cara Augustenborg, Dr Morgan D Bazilian, Sinead O’Brien and Jillian Mahon.

Augustenborg is an environmental scientist and senior fellow in environmental policy at University College Dublin. She has previously been part of advisory groups for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Dialogue for Climate Action, and was named by earlier this year as a changemaker in the sustainability space.

Bazilian is director of the Payne Institute in the US and professor of public policy at the Colorado School of Mines. He was previously lead energy specialist at the World Bank and is regarded as an expert when it comes to policy and investment.

O’Brien is network coordinator at Sustainable Water Network, a coalition of environmental groups working on the protection and management of Irish water and wetlands, and Mahon is an experienced director across the private, public and financial sectors.

In addition to these appointments, the Government has approved the first two sets of regulations under the Climate Action Act, referencing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change guidelines and EU regulations that govern carbon accounting.

It focuses on which greenhouse gases are to be included in carbon budgets and will be published by the Government in the coming weeks.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic