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Govt offers €42,500 for 6 months work as a consultant to attend meetings on climate diplomacy

The Department of Foreign Affairs has advertised a role paying €42,500 for less than six months of work as a Government consultant to attend meetings about climate diplomacy. 

In a newly released document, the Irish Government appealed for tender for consultancy services to “provide technical support to Ireland’s membership of the transitional committee for loss and damage”.

Climate loss and damage refers to the negative consequences of climate change on human societies and the natural environment, while climate diplomacy involves preparing risk assessment and risk management strategies, and prioritising climate action with partners worldwide.

In the department document advertising the role, the government outlines how Ireland has “an ambitious programme of climate finance and climate diplomacy internationally” – and the remuneration for the job only shows the government’s commitment to splashing the cash when it comes to climate related initiatives.

The cross-governmental International Climate Finance Roadmap, published in July 2022, sets out Ireland’s climate targets, which include reaching at least €225 million per year in climate finance by 2025. This figure represents a more than doubling of Ireland’s climate finance.

The Department, advertising the role, outlines: “Through bilateral engagement and multilateral engagement in the European Union, the UN, and multilateral banks and funds among other fora, Ireland uses its position and voice to advocate for the challenges and concerns of climate vulnerable countries. Key priorities of recent years for both climate finance and diplomacy, include: adaptation & Loss and Damage; oceans; and climate and security”.

The successful candidate for the Government’s lucrative part-time position must have availability to travel and be physically present for key events including Subsidiary Body meetings in June 2023 and COP28 in December 2023. The well-paid role will include international travel, paid at the normal civil service rates, to Dubai and Germany.

The single consultant will be required to “provide technical assistance services” on climate-induced loss and damage to the DFA Climate Unit” from mid-March until December 2023.

Specific services required include “engagement with and provision of advice at technical level on matters related to the Transitional Committee to DFA and DECC to assist in shaping Ireland’s contributions to the Committee” along with carrying out reviews, consolidation, editing and presentation of materials such as UNFCCC submissions.

The Department details how the government contract will be for “up to a maximum of 170 consultancy days” with the consultant required to provide ongoing support, from mid-March 2023 to December 31st 2023. The Department says that it “estimates that the contract will be in the value range of up to €42,500 excluding VAT.”

The Irish Government is no stranger to paying out big on climate-related spending. Earlier this month, it was reported that the government was due to buy up almost €3 million worth of carbon credits from Slovakia – to meet an EU deadline for emission target compliance.

The agreement saw Ireland purchase over 4.1 million credits from Slovakia to help meet the 2020 target, at a cost of €2.9 million after Minister Eamon Ryan received permission to do so by Cabinet.

Indeed, the job advertisement outlines how finance relating to Climate Loss and Damage has increased recently with the €10 million pledge by the then Taoiseach Micheál Martin at COP27 to the Global Shield; €4m pledged in 2022 to the Systematic Observation Financing Facility; and another €5m pledged to the Santiago Network for Technical Assistance for Loss and Damage.

EU regulations have mandated Ireland to slash emissions within specific sectors of the economy – including transport, agriculture, waste, and buildings – by 20% compared to 2005 levels. The credits are therefore being bought to comply with these emission targets.

Under the Effort Sharing Decision, EU member states are also obliged to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Regulations allow for EU states to buy or sell carbon credits from other countries.

According to official data from 2021, agriculture accounted for 10.2 per cent of the total CO2 equivalent emissions in Ireland. This figure makes up 10.2 per cent of the 0.09 per cent that Ireland contributes to the glocal emissions total, according to the EU. As summarised by Ben Scallan in November, this means that in total, Irish agriculture accounts for only 0.0009% of global carbon emissions.

Despite the low figure, the Government has outlined strict carbon emission cuts targets for this sector, aiming to slash agricultural emissions by 25 per cent. Rural TDs and farmers have been among those to speak out against Government efforts, claiming that such an ambitious target would devastate livelihoods in rural Ireland.

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