“Ireland has gained a reputation internationally in recent years as a ‘climate laggard’ and just last month Ireland was ranked the second worst European country for Climate Action, so the passing of this Bill is good news but has to mark a significant change of pace on the issue.”
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill is the culmination of more than two years’ work by Thomas Pringle TD, Trócaire, other civil society, activist and student groups, and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN).
It will compel the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to sell off its investments in the global fossil fuel industry, which as of June 2017, stood at €318 million, across 150 companies worldwide.
“This means the Bill is both substantive and symbolic,” added Éamonn. “It will stop public money being invested against the public interest, and it sends a clear signal nationally and globally that action on the climate crisis needs to be accelerated urgently, starting with the phase out of fossil fuels.”
Gerry Liston, the Legal Officer with the Global Legal Action Network, who drafted the Bill, explains its urgency. “Governments will not meet their obligations under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change if they continue to financially sustain the fossil fuel industry. Countries the world over must now urgently follow Ireland’s lead and divest from fossil fuels.”
Nicolò Wojewoda, 350.org Europe Team Leader, commented: “Ireland’s decision is a significant win for the global divestment campaign. The only way to meaningfully address the climate crisis is to stop funnelling money into the fossil fuel industry and instead to support the momentous rise of renewable energy.”
Éamonn concluded: “Thank you to all the opposition parties including Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, Labour, Sinn Fein, the Social Democrats, Solidarity – People Before Profit and a range of Independents for their longstanding support for the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, and to the Government for its recent engagement to ensure the Bill could pass the final stage in the Dáil with cross-party support.
“We are especially grateful to Independent Deputy Thomas Pringle for bringing this landmark legislation forward and to the Global Legal Action Network who provided significant legal support throughout the process.
“We hope this important piece of legislation will move quickly through the Seanad and be enacted before year end. We must do all we can to prevent climate change from reversing the decades of progress made in reducing poverty worldwide.”