Ireland has taken an important step toward becoming the first country in the world to remove fossil fuels from its sovereign wealth fund, as reported by NPR.
The Dail, the lower house of the Irish parliament, has approved a bill that will require the country to eliminate from its sovereign wealth fund around 8,000 million euros in investments related to oil, coal and natural gas, “as soon as possible possible”. The bill will now move to the country’s upper house, the Seanad, where it is expected to pass easily, most likely in September.
” The [divestment] movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in fossil fuels if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change ,” Thomas Pringle, the independent member of parliament who introduced the bill, told The Guardian. ” Ireland, by divesting, is sending a clear message to the international community that they are ready to think and act beyond narrow, short-term vested interests .”
The Irish fund currently owns more than € 300 million in 150 fossil fuel companies. The bill defines a fossil fuel company as any company that earns 20% or more from the exploration, extraction or refining of fossil fuels, but offers an exception for Irish companies that promise to move away from fuels that emit fossil gases. greenhouse effect, The Guardian reported.
Ireland’s decision is a major victory for the fossil fuel divestment movement, which has persuaded universities, pension funds, insurers, churches, and cities like New York to divest billions of dollars, but never pushed it all. a country to act.
Another country that has taken a similar path, Norway, a major oil producer and the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is going to stop investing in companies dedicated to the exploitation of coal, and there is a debate to stop investing in oil companies and companies. Of gas. But no country has eliminated all fossil fuels, according to NPR.
“ Ireland’s decision to divest itself of fossil fuels puzzles me. It is one of the key moments in what has become the largest campaign of its kind in history. Thanks to everyone who fought, ”commented the leader of the divestment movement and 350.org founder , Bill McKibben.
Passing the bill is also an important step for Ireland, which ranks last among EU countries in the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index.
” Ireland has built an international reputation in recent years as a climate laggard ‘… so the passage of this bill is good news, ” said Éamonn Meehan, executive director of the Irish Catholic organization Trócaire, which campaigned for favor of the bill.
Now, Ireland is positioning itself to lead other countries in the fight against climate change.
“ Governments will not meet the obligations of the Paris Agreement on climate change if they continue to financially support the fossil fuel industry. Countries around the world must urgently follow Ireland’s lead and get rid of fossil fuels , ”Gerry Liston, bill writer for the Global Legal Action Network, told The Guardian.
The reasons for this change of direction in investments, given that fossil fuel reserves are greater than what could be consumed without actually producing catastrophic climate change, are that continuing with the production of fossil fuels is a mistake for our planet and our society.
More information: npr.org