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Climate action

Irish NGOs call for the Government to support Dáil motion urging shift away from fossil fuel investments

Photo : Garry Walsh Photo : Garry Walsh

Today (13/12/23), the Dáil debated and passed a motion urging the Government to strengthen its approach to divestment from fossil fuels. The Motion, put forward by Deputy Thomas Pringle, proposes concrete steps to accelerate the move away from dirty, expensive fossil fuels at home and internationally. The Motion also called on the Government to join the growing list of nations now endorsing the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The agreed motion called on the Government to strengthen Ireland’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018, and address financial investments funds using Ireland’s foreign direct investment as a significant channel for financing fossil fuel and large-scale harmful agribusiness. Such agribusiness is typically controlled globally by large corporation and exacerbate climate change, poverty, land grabs and deforestation in the Global South.

Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire said: “As COP28 closes, today we saw world leaders begin to address the elephant in the room – fossil fuels. We welcome the support from all parties in the Oireachtas to commit to stronger actions to move away from fossil fuels. We hope the Government can now take this forward and publicly pledge to supporting the need for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty – there is no time to waste and we are looking to our political leaders to take the necessary action in the face of climate breakdown.”

Reacting to the passing of the Dáil motion, Oisín Coghlan, CEO of Friends of the Earth Ireland, said: “As campaigners criticised the COP outcome as falling short of phasing out fossil fuels, it is good to see the Dáil today passed a motion calling on the Government to support the development of a dedicated Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

“Developing a specific treaty for fossil fuels can be the shot in the arm international climate diplomacy needs when the COP process can only progress at the pace of the most obstructive petrostates. The Government now has the chance to join the growing group of countries working to drive a full, fast, fair, financed, and forever phase-out of fossil fuels.”

Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland, said: “Today’s debate was really important in examining the specific things Ireland can do to divestment from fossil fuels and large-scale harmful agribusiness. Ireland was a world leader in the introduction of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018, setting a global standard. However, the scope of the Act needs to be widened, which includes making sure that it is entirely fossil fuel free and excludes indirect along with direct investments.

“Outside of the Fossil Fuels Divestment Act, we also fundamentally need to address investments from private finance flows. As the world faces climate catastrophe, funds are still continuing to the causes of the climate crisis rather than the solutions, for example our research shows that Ireland’s foreign direct investment is facilitating the flow of €5.7 billion (US$6.2 billion) in harmful fossil fuels and agribusiness investment to the Global South.”

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