Ireland to stop investing in fossil fuels

It will make Ireland the first country in the world to do so

A bill dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will make Ireland the first country in the world to fully divest from fossil fuels.

The government passed the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favour of dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the €8bn (£6.8bn) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

The bill, introduced by Deputy Thomas Pringle, is likely to pass into law in the next few months after it is reviewed by the financial committee. 

"This principle of ethical financing is a symbol to these global corporations that their continual manipulation of climate science, denial of the existence of climate change and their controversial lobbying practices of politicians around the world is no longer tolerated,” Mr Pringle said.

"We cannot accept their actions while millions of poor people in underdeveloped nations bear the brunt of climate change forces as they experience famine, mass emigration and civil unrest as a result."

Norway is the only other country that has enacted similar legislation. In 2015, the country's sovereign pension fund divested from some fossil fuel companies, but not all.

Reaction

Trócaire has been campaigning for divestment of the ISIF from the fossil fuel industry for the last year. The organisation’s Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said:

"The majority of TDs supporting divesting public money from the fossil fuel industry is a massive step forward for the climate justice movement in Ireland. The political system is acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to halt climate change we must stop investing in the industry that is driving the crisis.

"Fossil fuels have been critical in bringing our societies and economies to where they are, but the evidence that fossil fuels must be phased out if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change and the spiralling of poverty and hunger is now crystal clear. "