Ireland looks to fully divest from fossil fuels

Illustration (Photo: Oireachtas)

The Irish Parliament has passed the legislation to stop investing in fossil fuels from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

With the majority vote in favor of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, proposed by Thomas Pringle, it will now move to Committee stage, where it will be reviewed by the financial committee.

The bill, which proposes dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the €8 billion EFSI fund, managed by the National Treasury Management Agency of Ireland, is likely to pass into law in the following months, according to The Independent.

Thomas Pringle said: “The fund does have an €800 million allocation for energy projects, the vast majority of which will be invested in renewables. If, however, the ‘vast majority’ of the energy investment is to be in renewables, it means that there is the option to invest in fossil fuels. It is morally problematic to invest in the continuation or expansion of activities that are clearly working against the public interest.

“We should be investing in a just transition for workers and communities currently dependent on an industry in its twilight years and to ensure Ireland becomes a desirable location for investment in the industries and technologies of the future.

“Providing for fossil fuel divestment in legislation would send an important signal that Ireland will uphold its commitments under the Paris Agreement and contribute to and benefit from the growth of the global green economy. It would send a message to businesses of all sizes and kinds in Ireland that it is in their interests and the Government’s obligation to plan for and begin working towards a fossil fuel-free economy.”

Executive Director of Trócaire, a charity organization pushing for the passing of the Bill, Éamonn Meehan, has welcomed the news, saying: “If the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill is passed, Ireland would be the first country to ban investment of public money into the fossil fuel industry.

“With a climate-sceptic recently inaugurated into the White House, this move by elected representatives in Ireland will send out a powerful message.

“The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: That to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis.”

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