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.
I’ve never CAPSLOCKED before, but IRELAND JUST VOTED TO BECOME THE FIRST NATION ON EARTH TO FULLY DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS. It’s a fine day, begorra!
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 12, 2018
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.