Trócaire Blog

 

March 16, 2017

Climate Plan ignores plight of poorest and most vulnerable

As drought pushes millions of people to the brink of famine in East Africa, Ireland yesterday published its Draft National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change. 

The plan is Ireland’s first in ten years on how it intends to reduce the harmful emissions that contribute to climate change.

Unfortunately, Trócaire is disappointed by the lack of new ambition in the plan. 

This is the first climate plan following the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement, which stated very clearly the need for a significant increase in action and ambition on climate change in all countries – we don’t see that increase in ambition in this Plan.  

The draft Plan gives no acknowledgement, reflection or engagement with the level of ambition that Ireland committed to when it ratified the Paris Agreement in late 2016.

Current levels of climate change are already having devastating impacts on the communities that Trócaire works with.  From storms and flooding in Central America to drought and hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is destroying lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable people who have done least to cause the problem.

Kitui, Kenya, 2010

The reality of climate change: This photograph was taken in 2010 in Kitui, Kenya. It shows people who have walked for miles to the dried up river Enziu, where they must dig for water. This desperate situation is now the norm across areas of Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia and other East African countries where climate change had a profound impact on rainfall patterns, leading to protracted, life-threatening periods of drought. Up to 70 million people in the region are facing extreme food insecurity.

The Plan fails drastically in acknowledging the economic, human and environmental costs of failing to take action. This is despite the fact that Ireland has the 8th highest emissions per person among OECD countries, with emissions increasing by 3.7% in 2015.  

Ireland is only one of two countries in the European Union which will miss its 2020 emission reduction targets. Absence of a concrete plan now will only further the challenge of complying with Ireland’s 2030 targets and long-term 2050 national objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 80%.

That there will be a public consultation on the plan is to be welcomed, and it is also positive to see that climate change will feature in the Citizens’ Assembly later this year. 

We need a real and honest conversation about the urgency of the climate crisis and how we respond as a country.  We are already seeing gains in poverty reduction being significantly eroded by climate change. If we fail to act adequately over the next five years, it may be impossible to deliver on the commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement. The implications for all countries would be devastating, but the poorest and most vulnerable will pay the highest price. 

March 01, 2017

Trócaire launches 44th annual Lent fundraising campaign

Scale of humanitarian need ‘unprecedented’  as Trócaire launches Ireland’s largest annual fundraising campaign

Ireland’s largest annual fundraising campaign kicks-off today, with Trócaire targeting humanitarian relief for up to one million people with the help of its Lenten campaign.

Schools, communities and parishes will come together over the next six weeks to pledge their support for the poorest people in the world. The Lenten campaign, which is in its 44th year, has transformed the lives of millions of people around the world.

44th Lent campaign launch

Caption: Brothers Ross (7) & James Malone (2) from Prosperous, Co Kildare helping us launch our 44th Lent campaign at Maynooth college. Photo by Mark Steadman.

This year’s campaign highlights the scale of humanitarian need across the world. The family pictured on this year’s Trócaire box is from a village in Honduras that faces regular flooding from storms and rising sea levels. Trócaire’s project in the villages keep people safe by providing for safe evacuation while supporting their campaign for access to safer homes.

The organisation is responding to humanitarian crises around the world, including in South Sudan where the UN last week declared a famine. Trócaire is providing emergency food and water to people in South Sudan and donations to this year’s Lenten campaign will help the organisation expand its projects aimed at tackling hunger across the region.

Lent community in Honduras

Caption: Miriam Maribel Campos Pérez and her daughter Maria, from a coastal village that faces regular flooding in Honduras, feature on the 2017 Trócaire box. Photo: Frank McGrath/Irish Independent.

Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said:

“The scale of humanitarian need in the world is unprecedented. Over 70 million people will require emergency food aid this year, while the number of people displaced from their homes is at its highest level since World War II. With the support of people in Ireland, Trócaire will deliver humanitarian aid to up to one million people in crisis this year.

“The situation in South Sudan is a catastrophe and set to worsen significantly over the coming months. Over 4.5 million people do not have enough food to eat and there is no prospect of that improving until August at the earliest. Over one million children are at risk of death unless they receive urgent food aid.

“Unfortunately, the international response to the crisis has been very slow. Appeals are under-funded and unless funding is made available people will die. Donald Trump’s proposal to dramatically increase military spending will very likely be at the expense of funding humanitarian programmes. More money for guns, tanks and bombs in a world already full of military hardware and less money for the poor and vulnerable.”

The crisis in South Sudan has been caused by a combination of conflict and drought. Trócaire’s Lenten campaign highlights how the rise of these two issues is threatening to undo much of the progress made to lift people out of extreme poverty over recent decades.

“Millions of people around the world have been lifted out of poverty by Irish people’s generosity over the last 44 years,” said Éamonn Meehan. “Aid has delivered so many success stories. Unfortunately, the spread of conflicts and the worsening impacts of climate change are increasingly out-pacing those efforts.

“The percentage of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has fallen, but for the poorest of the poor life has never been so challenging. Worsening droughts are making it impossible to grow food, while prolonged conflicts have left generations growing up in camps with little prospect of returning home.

“Much of our work is focused on delivering aid and support to people trapped in conflict or left hungry by drought. These are two major global challenges of our time.”

For more information about our Lent campaign, please visit trocaire.org/lent

February 16, 2017

70 million hit by extreme food shortages

Extreme food shortages are occurring across a number of African countries, with large areas of East Africa worst affected.

Tabu Ruth at Bidi Bidi refugee camp

 
South Sudanese refugee Tabu Ruth brings water to her father outside the family’s new home in Bidi Bidi camp in Uganda. Photo by Tommy Trenchard for Caritas.

The severity and scale of the crisis is unprecedented in recent decades. 

Conflict and drought have combined to leave 17 million people in East Africa alone requiring immediate emergency food aid.

The two worst affected countries in the region are Somalia and South Sudan, but parts of Ethiopia and Kenya are also badly hit.

How bad the situation gets will largely depend on whether the rains come over the next few weeks. However, even if they do come, there will still be a five month gap when people have little or nothing to eat before the next harvest.

How did it get this bad?

Ongoing conflict in South Sudan and Somalia has displaced millions of people and severely disrupted the food system.

Climate change is also a huge factor. The region is experiencing a prolonged drought due to the failure of rainy seasons. Without the rain, crops have not grown.

South Sudan – one in three people left hungry

Over 4.5 million people in South Sudan will require emergency food aid over the coming months. As it stands, one in every three people in the country does not have enough food.

An estimated 675,000 people are currently classified as being in emergency.

Somalia – a repeat of 2011?

Over 5 million people in Somalia are in need of emergency aid. The situation threatens a repeat of 2011, when a famine in the country cost the lives of 250,000 people.

At the moment, 320,000 children under age five are acutely malnourished, of which 50,000 are severely malnourished.

What is Trócaire doing?

Trócaire has teams working in all four affected countries – South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. We are bringing emergency food aid into the worst-hit communities and helping people to survive the current crisis.

As needs grow, we want to expand our emergency aid projects.

You can help us donating today

January 26, 2017

Dáil signals first of its kind fossil fuel divestment legislation

Trócaire welcomes ground breaking environmental Bill that will benefit the poorest communities in the world.

Yes to divest

This afternoon a majority vote was passed in the Dáil to progress the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill to Committee stage.

The Bill calls for the withdrawal of investments of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) from fossil fuel companies and ban future investments in the industry by the Fund.

Executive Director of Trócaire, Éamonn Meehan said: “Major cities from Copenhagen to Berlin to Sydney have already committed to divest from the fossil fuel industry. 

“However, 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."

hwami family zimbabwe

The Hamzi family in Zimbabwe are amongst the millions of people currently experiencing devastating drought due to climate change. Photo: Caritas, 2016

“I have seen it on the ground, from Malawi to Honduras, climate change is decimating the world’s poorest communities.

“The support of a majority in the Dáil for this Bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead.”

Trócaire has been campaigning for the Bill since early 2016.

January 11, 2017

How €31 can change a life in Malawi

By Emmet Bergin, Acting Country Director, Trócaire Malawi

Irrigated corn field in Malawi

A field of corn isn’t that exciting. Even to Irish eyes unused to the tall, long stalks and yellow cobs it really doesn’t get the heart pumping. 

In Malawi, however, where 6.4 million people are experiencing food shortages due to a prolonged dry season, a thriving field of maize is about as exciting as it gets. 

Malawi has sun - plenty of it, and as the Cornflakes ads attest, that’s vital to grow corn. But what Malawi doesn’t have is the other basic component: water. 

Most land is rain-fed, with rains falling within the months of December to February. The rest of the year is completely dry.

When the rains are “bad”, with lower expected rainfall, as has occurred across Eastern and Southern Africa this year, then much of Malawi’s 18 million population, 85% of whom are self-sufficient farmers, are in serious trouble. 

Because of climate change, these rainfall shortages are now becoming the norm.

If Malawi is not to face year after year of famine, the missing ingredient of water must be found. 

These fields of corn in Mganja, Lower Dedza, testify to what is possible once the right mix of specialist water engineering support, agriculture training and community commitment is available. Cost effective and simple to maintain, the water for these fields comes from the diversion of a nearby river. Without it these fields, like neighbouring communities, would be dead soils.

It felt as if the whole village community of Mganja had come to greet us. They wanted to express thanks, through us, to those who supported this irrigation project, in this case the Irish people and the UK Government, through funding from Department for International Development to Trócaire. 

Mganja Community welcome

Welcome from women of the Mganja community. December 2016

Francisco, the village committee chairperson, insisted we walk to the middle of the fields, away from the irrigation channels, to show us how all parts of the fields had become productive.

Francisco spoke eloquently of the challenges of climate change, the previous reliance of the community on maize handouts during the months before the harvest and now how the community are moving towards complete self-sufficiency and the production of surpluses. He, on behalf of the community, asked for continued support from Trócaire. 

Trócaire will continue to support the farmers in this village with agricultural training for another 12 months.

However, the scale of need in Malawi means that we must move on to support communities in the neighbouring area.

The cost of the intervention for the 150 households in Mganja is modest. Benefitting a total of 800 men, women and children the total irrigation and training package cost €25,000, or €31 per person. This investment will set everyone on track for self-sufficiency into the future.

The cost of not making this intervention is stark.

The World Food Programme states that millions of Malawians will go hungry and thousands of Malawians are at risk of starvation if a shortfall of $230 million is not found to purchase sufficient maize meal for this year.

The cost of this emergency intervention to help Malawi’s poor get through these months of hunger is €45 per person for this year. 

Despite the overwhelming needs in Malawi and the hunger that prevails, the example of Mganja left me with hope of one affordable, efficient and concrete example of that often misused concept “climate change adaptation”. 

Mganja shows how in the midst of a crisis, human ingenuity, hard work and some outside investment can materially improve the life circumstances of the people affected, well beyond their previous level of existence and in a manner that can - and must - be replicated across the country.

December 13, 2016

Ceann Comhairle launches the ‘Project for Africa’ with Trócaire

Ceann Comrailhe, Ethiopian Ambassador, Mary KennedyCeann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, Lela-alem Gebreyohannes, Ethiopian Ambassador to Ireland, and RTÉ broadcaster Mary Kennedy at launch of  ‘Ceann Comhairle Project for Africa’ at Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre on 12 December.

The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, last night launched the ‘Ceann Comhairle Project for Africa’, a special fund which aims to raise an initial €50,000 for Trócaire to tackle drought and urgent need in northern Ethiopia.
 
RTÉ broadcaster Mary Kennedy officially launched the Project at Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre in Newbridge, Co. Kildare and urged local businesses to support the fund.

The Ceann Comhairle, Sean Ó Fearghaíl TD, said that he hoped the fund would allow Trócaire to bring support to 7,000 people in drought-affected areas of Ethiopia.
 
“I have seen for myself the devastating effects on millions of people facing extreme food shortages in communities vulnerable to drought and so, as sponsor of this project, I am pleased to launch this new and innovative ‘Ceann Comhairle Project for Africa’,” he said.

“Through charitable donations, this project aims to put in place a long term response to the impact of climate change on vulnerable communities in the Enderta District in Tigray northern Ethiopia. People there simply do not have enough food to live and it is hoped that this project will directly benefit 1200 families, or 7000 individuals. It is about introducing sustainability for the most vulnerable communities in Ethiopia through building irrigation systems that will ensure that farmers have at least the minimum amount of water to grow and harvest crops.”

Sean Farrell of Trócaire thanked the Ceann Comhairle for his determination to support the organisation’s work in Ethiopia:
 
“There are currently over nine million people in Ethiopia facing food shortages due to drought. The Ceann Comhairle Project for Africa fund will greatly help us to build irrigation and supports that can ensure that people do not face this situation again. We are delighted that the Ceann Comhairle has chosen to work with Trócaire on this very special project and would like to thank everybody who has expressed an interest in supporting this initiative.”
 
To support the Ceann Comhairle Project for Africa fund please email [email protected]

November 22, 2016

Trócaire and NGO partners organise north and south climate action lobby events

Lobby events held in Dublin and Belfast to coincide with the COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh, where diplomats gather to discuss the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate action. 

Stormont Climate Lobby Event November 2016

Activists gather outside Stormont Castle before lobby event. Photo: Justin Kernoghan

At a joint event at Stormont on Monday 14 November organised by Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth, members of the public met their MLAs and local representatives to urge them to support a Stormont Climate Change Bill. 

Northern Ireland is the poorest performing region of the UK when it comes to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and is being left behind by other parts of these islands such as Scotland & the Republic of Ireland who have Climate Acts. Climate action is long overdue and urgently needed.

The Stormont lobby took place at a critical time as the Northern Ireland Programme for Government is still being discussed and decided upon. The Programme sets out the region's priorities and direction for the next five years, so it's vital that there are strong climate targets in the Programme for Government. 

Chris Lyttle MLA with East Belfast constituents

Chris Lyttle MLA with East Belfast constituents. Photo: Justin Kernoghan

Every constituency in Northern Ireland was represented at the event, and activist groups including the Clogher Peace and Justice Group, the Armagh Trócaire Ambassadors, and the newly founded Queen’s University Belfast Trócaire society attended, alongside volunteers and supporters from Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth. 

The event was the largest ever climate lobby in Northern Ireland with approximately 100 people in attendance who met with representatives from all the main political parties, with the exception of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV).

The next day in Dublin (Tuesday 15 November), 150 constituents met with TDs and Senators from across the party and independent spectrum to push for stronger action on climate change from the Irish Government.

Declan Breathnach, FF TD, Louth, Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth, Selina Donnelly, Trócaire at Stop Climate Chaos lobbying event, Buswells, Dublin, Nov 15, 2016.

Declan Breathnach, Fianna Fail TD for Louth; Kate Ruddock, Friends of the Earth; and Selina Donnelly, Trócaire at Stop Climate Chaos lobbying event, Buswells Hotel, Dublin, 15 November. Photo: Alan Whelan

The Government is soon set to publish a draft National Mitigation Plan, the first of its kind under the new Climate Act. This critical document will determine the level of ambition for meeting Ireland’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.  

Nearly 100 politicians attended the Dublin event organised by Stop Climate Chaos, including Government Chief Whip, Regina Doherty, Micheál Martin, Hildegarde Naughton (Chair of the Oireachtas Committee), and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten's, special adviser. 

Seán Sherlock (Labour) speaks to constituents at lobby event in Buswell's hotel, Dublin

Labour TD Seán Sherlock speaks to constituents. Photo: Alan Whelan

They were asked to support the following:

1. Enabling community ownership of renewable energy;
2. Divesting taxpayers’ money from fossil fuels;
3. Achieving the goals of the Smarter Travel Policy.

And nearly half the politicians who attended signed letters to Ministers Naughten, Michael Noonan (Finance) and Shane Ross (Transport) calling on them to deliver on these demands. 

Take action

Use our online lobby tools to call on your MLA or TD to take action on climate change.

November 08, 2016

Dear Stormont: we need to talk about climate change

By Mary Friel, Campaigns Officer, Trócaire Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland lags behind other regions in reducing carbon emissions, and has yet to pass a local Climate Law. As world leaders gather in Marrakech to progress the commitments of last year’s historic Paris Climate Agreement, Trócaire, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth are holding a lobby event at Stormont to call on all MLAs to take urgent action on climate change.

mla heads in sand

At the lobby event at the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday 14 November we will push MLAs for much-needed action on three areas:

1. Set strong climate targets in the Programme for Government
2. Develop a local Climate Change Act
3. 100% clean energy within a generation

The Paris Agreement commits to: “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. 

The Paris Agreement text emphasises the “emissions gap” between the temperature goal and the pledges that countries have made so far. Independent analysis by Climate Action Tracker concludes that current policies put us on track for global warming of 3.6°C while current pledges, if they were all delivered on time, would only limit warming to 2.7°C.

All existing targets and timelines for emission reductions therefore need to be re-evaluated.

When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Northern Ireland is the lowest performing region in the UK. 

In total, the UK has reduced emissions by 36% (between the base year 1990 and 2014).

England and Scotland are the highest performing regions with reduced emissions by 38% and 41%. But Wales and Northern Ireland reduced emissions by only 18% and 17% respectively. 

While this year in Northern Ireland we did see a decrease in carbon emissions by 3% on the year prior, the long-term emission reductions trend reveals how much more work we need to do to get serious about climate action to align with the ambition in the Paris Agreement.

We need climate action now to do our fair share to protect the livelihoods of the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities in the world, many of whom are already feeling the devastating impacts of climate change, through increased droughts and floods which is driving hunger and poverty.

Join us for the big climate change lobby at Stormont 

To join us, all you have to do is register to attend the event and send an email asking your MLAs to meet you there.

When: Monday 14th November 2016, 4pm – 7pm 
Where: Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast  

Register to attend event on Eventbrite 

For more information on the key asks, you can read our short two-page briefing paper

If you have any questions about the lobby please contact Mary Friel: [email protected].

Supporters in the Republic of Ireland can join the Stop Climate Chaos lobby event taking place in Dublin on Tuesday, 15 November. 

September 13, 2016

September is Creation month

September is Creation month. It’s a month to respond to Pope Francis’ call for a new way of being, free from the slavery of consumerism and asks that we take good care of Creation, protecting and preserving it for future generations.

In a special video message, Pope Francis highlights the link between poverty and the fragility of the planet

In his landmark encyclical of the same name – ‘Laudato Si, Care for our Common Home’, Pope Francis discusses the grave implications of climate change, one of the most pressing challenges of our time.  

Climate change is having a devastating impact on people in the world’s poorest regions. 

Right now, there are 60 million people around the world experiencing extreme food shortages due to drought. 

This is just the latest example of the increasingly severe impacts of climate change being visited on the women and men in developing countries, a problem created not by them but primarily by consumption and production in rich countries. 

In Laudato Si, Pope Francis highlights the need for lifestyle changes in response to climate change. 

Importantly however, he also emphasises the need for structural changes including the urgent, progressive replacement of fossil fuels and other highly polluting technologies that are major contributors to climate change.  

Pope Francis’ calls to action are at the heart of Trócaire’s climate justice campaigning.  Earlier this year Trócaire joined a movement of more than 500 institutions, with a collective value of around $3.4 trillion across the world committing publically to take their money out of the fossil fuel industry.  

This global fossil fuel divestment movement is capturing the imagination of a diverse range of people from student activists to religious congregations to financiers.  

In a few short years the movement has become the fastest growing divestment campaign in history. 

Divestment has been a tool for social justice campaigning for decades and was a notable strategy employed by people and organisations in efforts to isolate the apartheid regime in South Africa.  

A public commitment to move your money out of fossil fuels – the problem, and into just and accessible renewable energy solutions, is a highly symbolic action.  It sends a clear message to society and importantly to political decision-makers – that the fossil fuel era must end.  

Trócaire’s campaign calls on the Government to divest the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), formerly the National Pension Reserve Fund, from fossil fuels, and to adopt a 100% renewable energy investment policy instead.

Successive Irish Governments have stated deep concern about the urgent threat of climate change, and yet have persistently failed to act in line with Ireland’s international obligations. 

Ireland’s Green House Gas emissions per person remain one of the highest among industrialised countries. 

To add insult to injury, the Irish government continues to invest public money, via the ISIF, into fossil fuel companies that are directly responsible for the problem.  

The irony is that many financial experts are highlighting that fossil fuel companies are performing poorly and are an increasingly risky investment. 

This Government must divest the ISIF of all fossil fuel investments as part of a substantive and symbolic step change in climate action in Ireland.  

Trócaire itself has committed to divesting its staff pension fund from fossil fuels.  Any divestment commitment requires some time and persistence to deliver. In many cases, and indeed in Trócaire’s experience, this involves engaging with those currently managing your funds to ensure they will support you to achieve this.   

The efforts needed to deliver on a divestment commitment are no reason to shy away from making one.  Indeed, they are part and parcel of the transformative conversations, decisions and actions that are needed to respond to Pope Francis’ call for us to create an entirely new way of being.  

In his reflections on climate change, Pope Francis describes the weakness of political responses to date as ‘remarkable’, and the need for pressure from the public and civic institutions in order to challenge the entrenched mindset of short-term gain and results which dominates present-day economics and politics. 

Pope Francis describes every act of purchase as ‘a moral – and not simply economic – act’.  

As we respond to the Pope’s plea for this Creation Time in various ways, we invite reflection on how we spend and invest our money, and how it is invested on our behalf by our Government.  

By pursuing one’s own divestment and or supporting Trócaire’s campaign calling on the Government to divest the ISIF, everyone can play a part in creating a new way of being, one that is both just and sustainable. 

August 22, 2016

5 fossil fuel myths busted

By Antoin McDermott

5 fossil fuel myths

Carbon emissions released from the fossil fuels we use are a leading cause of the global temperature rise causing climate change. 

Climate change is already causing devastation across the globe, with escalating storms, floods and drought hitting the most vulnerable communities. 

80% of known fossil fuels reserves must stay in the ground if we are to have a chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change. 

So we need to know how we can quit these fossil fuels that we are addicted to. 

Here are some of the main myths surrounding fossil fuels that are slowing our transition away from them...

Myth 1: We need fossil fuels or civilization will collapse. We all use them and we can’t just stop using them. 

Although we can transition to a world of 100% renewables and zero carbon, we do need fossil fuels today for society to function and to fuel the transition; however, our reliance on them needs to decrease dramatically and soon. 

This is not happening. Fossil fuel consumption is increasing. The increase in consumption of fossil fuels was 2.6 times the increase in renewables in 2015. 

Even though we know we can only burn one fifth of fossil fuel reserves, fossil fuel companies are still exploring for more. 

One of the best ways to stop this is to cease investing in the companies that want to increase fossil fuel use in order to make money. 

When massive investments are made in fossil fuel companies, they receive large subsidies from governments, and they have powerful lobbyers, it makes it difficult for alternatives to become more widely available and competitive. 

A world free from fossil fuel use will only come about when fossil fuel companies have less power. 

‘Divestment’ is one way to take that power away. 

Myth 2. Moving my investments out of fossil fuels won’t really have any effect. Others will invest in the fossil fuels if I don’t.

It’s true that others could invest in the fossil fuels shares you divest from, but, if divestment spreads, less will do so. 

More than 500 institutions, with a value of over $3 trillion, have already committed to divest from fossil fuels within five years.

As more and more people and institutions divest it creates a stigma around fossil fuel companies. 

It undermines their influence and makes it more difficult for governments to justify their subsidies. 

It also highlights the fact that fossil fuels are increasingly a bad and risky investment. 

Both, the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, and the head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, have recently both warned of this. 

Divestment is therefore a very effective way of fighting climate change and reducing risk in investments.

Myth 3. It's better to use the power of being a shareholder to change the fossil fuel companies.

It would be very difficult to convince a fossil fuel company to effectively put itself out of business by not selling its product. 

The renowned British environmentalist, Jonathan Porritt, tried to engage with fossil fuels companies for years and found that it was a waste of time

Anything that helps fossil fuel companies reduce their sale of fossil fuels is worth attempting, but divestment from the companies themselves is much more effective.

Myth 4. There are a lot of jobs in fossil fuels, it wouldn’t be fair to get rid of these.

Transitioning to renewable energy will create a large number of new jobs. 

The trade union Sustainlabour predicts that Europe alone could gain 6.1 million new jobs by 2050 from going 100% renewable. 

8 million people were employed in the renewable sector across the globe last year. 

While research claims we could create 100,000 jobs in Ireland by transitioning to 100% renewables

There has also been considerable employment in developing countries. This is not to say that jobs in the fossil fuel industries would not be lost. 

Therefore, it is vital that the right approach is taken to ensure the transition is as smooth and as just as possible. 

Much of the technical and managerial work that is needed for the fossil fuel industries are similar to that needed for renewables. 

Reskilling and retraining programmes are also essential. The key would be to start making this transition now so that the right time is given for this to happen. There also needs to be more jobs made available in renewables. Investing in renewables and not fossil fuel companies can allow this to happen.

Myth 5. Fossil fuels are needed by developing countries to develop.

The transition away from fossil fuels must be a just transition domestically and globally and there cannot be unintended impacts on the rights and resilience of vulnerable communities. 

Allowing developing countries as much of the remaining ‘carbon budget’ as possible and the means to transition to renewables, in order to enable their development, is central to climate justice. 

The citizens of developing countries with fossil fuel reserves seldom benefit from the extraction and sales of these fossil fuels. Fossil fuel investments have not delivered access to energy for the people living with extreme poverty.

The impact that climate change is having on the rights and dignity of women and men living in poverty is what has brought Trócaire to the issue of fossil fuels. 

Sign Trócaire's petition to stop the Irish government using the public’s money to invest in fossil fuels

You can also talk to your financial provider to see what fossil-free investment options are available for you. If there are no options available, ask them to make sensible fossil-free investments available now. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Climate change