Jobs in agriculture, industry and transport will be at risk as the economy makes the transition to a low-carbon future.
The Nevin Economic Research Institute, a union-funded think tank, has said this makes the Government's response to the closure of two peat-fired power plants in the midlands a "test case" for the success of a so-called Just Transition for workers affected.
The Just Transition is part of the Paris Climate Agreement.
It compels governments to assist in creating "decent work and quality jobs" for those impacted by the transition to low carbon economies.
The NERI says the Government must prepare for this to happen across industries like agriculture, energy and transport.
It says the response to the decision by the ESB to close peat burning power stations and the knock-on effect on Bord na Móna will be a test case.
The NERI points to successful programmes for workers in Scotland's oil industry and former coal miners in Germany's Ruhr valley.
It recommends targeted retraining programmes and the involvement of local educational institutes.
The institute also says an income insurance scheme should be examined to maintain spending power locally while workers re-train.
Last week the Government announced the appointment of former Labour Relations Commission chief Kieran Mulvey as the first Just Transition Commissioner.