Author: Liam Taylor
Last month Ireland became the first country in the world to commit to 100% divestment from fossil fuels after a bill was passed with unanimous support in the lower house of parliament.
The bill passed by parliament means the state’s €8bn ($12.55bn) national investment fund must sell all investments in coal, oil, gas and peat “as soon as is practicable”. In total, more than €300m worth of shares in 150 fossil fuel companies will be sold. The bill is expected to be passed by the upper house and be ratified into law by the end of the year.
Thomas Pringle, the independent MP who introduced the bill to parliament, said divestment represented a clear message that both the Irish public and international community are ready to think and act beyond short term economic interests.
“The movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in the expansion of a global industry which must be brought into managed decline if catastrophic climate change is to be averted.”
In recent years the fossil fuel divestment movement has rapidly grown, with trillions of dollars being withdrawn from fossil fuel investments around the world. Investment funds, insurers, universities and cities (including New York) have participated in the movement but Ireland will make history as the first national government to completely divest from the fossil fuel industry. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has 100% divested from coal but is still considering its oil and gas holdings.
Fossil fuel divestment aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by targeting and stigmatising fossil fuel companies in the hope these companies feel pressured to switch their investments the renewable energy technologies. Ultimately, greenhouse gas mitigation is the most important factor in avoiding or minimizing the worst impacts of climate change.
Australian businesses are quickly becoming leaders in global climate change action, with Australia having the highest value of fossil fuel divestments per capita of any developed nation. Local governments, universities, financial institutions and even local businesses are just some who have taken divestment commitments.
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.