H.E. Minister of Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport
Eamon Ryan is the Minister for both the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Transport – two key departments at the centre of Ireland’s energy and climate transformation. Since his re-election and appointment as Senior Minister and Government leader in Ireland’s three-party coalition he has led the enactment of Ireland’s world recognised Climate Act 2021, which sets binding targets to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030 and to move to net zero by 2050. He also spearheaded negotiations which led to the establishment of historic sectoral targets for Ireland’s key economic sectors. He has overseen the publication of two Climate Actions Plans to date, which set out in detail how Ireland is going to reach its climate targets, year by year. He has continued support for Ireland’s on-shore wind programme, which is already recognised as a world leader, has put in place the conditions to ensure huge advances in solar power and he has kickstarted Ireland’s offshore energy programme, which has enormous potential to not just power the country but provide vital energy to Europe and the UK. He has also worked to enhance and protect Ireland’s energy security, moving towards renewables at speed and scale, but mindful of the role that traditional energy sources will continue to play in powering a vibrant economy and society. This pragmatic but ambitious approach has also been evident in Minister Ryan’s involvement at EU, UN and IEA meetings and decisions. Minister Ryan is co-Chair, with France, of the International Energy Agency’s 2024 Ministerial, which will reaffirm the IEA members’ leadership in the global energy sector’s fight against climate change, supporting countries to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 through decoupling economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining security and affordability of energy supply. Through 2022, he was co-Chair, with the European Commission, of the North Seas Energy Cooperation, hosting a major meeting in Dublin in September where the members agreed – for the first time – aggregate offshore renewable energy targets to reach at least 260GW of offshore wind energy - more than 85% of the EU-wide ambition by 2050. In December 2022, the members of the NSEC and the United Kingdom agreed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on increased cooperation for the development of offshore renewable energy. Agreement of this MoU was a key priority for Minister Ryan, during Ireland’s Co-Presidency of the NSEC in 2022. At COP 27, Minister Ryan was appointed as EU Lead Negotiator on Loss and Damage Finance, which was considered by many to be the priority or litmus test of the Convention of the Parties in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt. With skilful negotiation, good listening skills and respect for often very different positions, he helped bring about global agreement on the establishment of a fund which will support and protect the most vulnerable – those most affected by the devastating impacts of climate change. Minister Ryan is a regular and articulate contributor at European Council meetings on Environment, Communications, Energy and Transport. He has also made insightful contributions to IEA meetings, often quoted by others, such as US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm. He has been a TD for Dublin Bay South since 2016 and has been leader of the Green Party/Comhaontas Glas (www.greenparty.ie) since 2011. He was born in Dublin and raised in Dundrum and Dartry. He studied commerce in UCD before taking a job managing a marketing course in the university’s School of Business. He went on to found a cycling tourism company, Irish Cycling Safaris, in the late 1980s and in 1996 won the Ernst & Young Tourism Enterprise Award. The business still trades successfully as Cycling Safaris. He was the founding chairperson of the Dublin Cycling Campaign and began his political career as a Dublin City Councillor for the Rathgar – Rathmines ward. He then went on to serve as a TD for Dublin South for nine years and as a Government Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources from 2007 to 2011. Professionally Eamon has worked for a European climate organisation (www.e3g.org) and chaired the digital policy group in the Institute of International and European Affairs (www.iiea.com). Eamon is dedicated to ensuring that Ireland plays its part in the global fight against climate change by introducing climate policies that are fair, just and improve the quality of people’s lives while safeguarding the planet for future generations. Eamon is committed to the fast deployment of renewables in the power, heat and transport sectors and is keen to develop industrial strategies in these sectors to support job creation and socio-economic benefit. He is mindful this must be done through a managed transition from, and diversification with, traditional energy sources. As Minister he has enabled this through faster permitting legislation, statutory policy directions and visible leadership.