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Ireland votes to divest from fossil fuels within 5 years

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Ireland has become the world’s first nation to legislate to divest completely from fossil fuels, after its parliament passed a bill compelling the €8.9 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to withdraw all money invested in oil, gas and coal.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill was passed by Ireland’s Dail on Thursday, requiring ISIF to offload direct investments in fossil fuel undertakings – recently estimated at around €318 million across 150 companies – in five years, and make no future investments in the industry.

Reuters reports that the bill describes “fossil fuel undertakings” as those “whose business is engaged, for the time being, in the exploration for or extraction or refinement of a fossil fuel where such activity accounts for 20 percent or more of the turnover of that undertaking.”

Indirect investment in fossil fuels is also ruled out, unless there is no more than 15 per cent of an asset invested in a fossil fuel undertaking.

The move follows a broad public commitment, in May, from the president of Costa Rica to “abolish fossil fuels” from its economy. And on a smaller scale, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced in January that the city would divest its $US189-billion pension funds from fossil fuel companies – estimated at around $US5 billion.

But Ireland is believed to be the first nation to commit fossil fuel divestment to law – a fact that was celebrated by a long-standing leader of the global movement, 350.org’s Bill McKibben, on Twitter on Thursday (see above).

“This (bill) will make Ireland the first country to commit to divest (public money) from the fossil fuel industry,” said independent member of parliament Thomas Pringle who introduced the bill to parliament in 2016.

“With this bill we are leading the way at state level … but we are lagging seriously behind on our EU and international climate commitments,” he told lawmakers.  

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  • MaxG

    Australia only knows investing into FF, hence, divesting won’t be on the cards as long the neoliberals call the shots.

  • Black Silicon
    • Joe

      Blackie my man, you’d be right at home in Canada with all that black gold in them Tar Sands. I guess you are pining for ex-PM Stephen Harper making a comeback. Then your wetdream of FF4ever will be complete. But Canada isn’t completely stupid to matters pertaining the health of the Planet and with it survival of the human species which I think, also includes yourself…that not entirely small matter of the Montreal Protocol ring any bells..

  • Geoffrey Cann

    Great News Indeed

  • Ian

    Is Ireland’s decision that of the first rat to leave the sinking ship? If so, many others may follow. Already BP is hedging it’s bets looking at a BEV charging network and some German energy companies have long ago split off the old fossil assets and created renewables focused companies. How do you know where your Super money is invested, so as not to lose the bloody lot when the FF ship sinks?

  • Robert Comerford

    Good move Ireland.

  • My_Oath

    Time for a Guiness!

  • Black Silicon

    This will become as popular with irish citizens as the great potato famine.