FEB 03, 2017 7:31 AM PST

Ireland Commits to Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Ireland has taken the biggest leap that any nation has yet to taken: the commitment to divest all public funds from fossil fuels. The Irish Parliament passed the legislation by a whopping majority of 90 to 53 in favour of divesting from coal, oil and gas investments in the €8bn ($8.6 billion) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, which is a part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency. The bill has yet to be officially passed. That will hopefully happen in the coming months once the financial committee has approved it. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund would then have five years to divest from fossil fuels completely.

Moneypoint power station is Ireland's largest electricity generation station, powered mostly by coal. Image Credit: Charles W Glynn/Wikimedia Commons

The news is, of course, being received enthusiastically by environmentalists. "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," Éamonn Meehan, executive director of the Catholic poverty charity Trócaire, told the Belfast Telegraph.

Deputy Thomas Pringle introduced the bill and spoke to the media, stating: “This principle of ethical financing is a symbol to these global corporations that their continual manipulation of climate science, denial of the existence of climate change and their controversial lobbying practices of politicians around the world is no longer tolerated. We cannot accept their actions while millions of poor people in underdeveloped nations bear the brunt of climate change forces as they experience famine, mass emigration and civil unrest as a result.”

Although Ireland is a small country and the bill will most likely not be the tipping point to halting climate change in its tracks, the bill stands as a symbol of encouragement and accountability for other developed nations to do their part in the climate equation. And indeed, Ireland is not only in these divestment ventures. Following Futurism, The Divest Invest Initiative had already gathered almost $5.2 trillion in fossil fuel divestment pledges from 76 countries. Norway in particular has been touted as a leader with their national commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030. China, too, announced its plan to eradicate 104 coal-fired projects across 13 provinces as part of their anti-coal stance.

While fossil fuels is by far the biggest offender in terms of carbon emissions, other sources of energy such as natural gas fracking are also worrisome, especially given that some energy companies and their lobbyists have been putting up a fight to convey fracking as a “clean energy” source. ScienceAlert reports that the Irish parliament is also starting to examine their relationship with fracking, though it is unclear what path the country will take involving the matter.

Sources: TreeHugger, The Independent UK, ScienceAlert, Futurism

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
APR 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 16, 2020
Are monarch butterflies stressed out?
Perhaps in your life you have participated in a project involving monarch butterflies. I can still remember being surpri ...
APR 16, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 16, 2020
NASA Illustrates the Complexities of Atmospheric Chemistry
What do scientists see when looking at Earth’s atmosphere? Well, it’s complicated, especially the chemistry ...
APR 26, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 26, 2020
These Macaques Slap Their Food Scavenging Competition
One thing that lion-tailed macaques and Malabar giant squirrels have in common is a passionate love for the taste of jac ...
MAY 21, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAY 21, 2020
Mapping wildfires with neural networks
Hydrology researchers have banded together with environmental engineers and remote sensing specialists to develop a deep ...
MAY 24, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
MAY 24, 2020
Common Chemicals May Contribute to Obesity
Several explanations have been proposed to answer the question of why obesity has been on the rise for many years in the ...
MAY 24, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 24, 2020
Bees May 'Trick' Plants Into Flowering When Pollen is Scarce
It’s no secret that bumblebees depend heavily on pollen for their unique worker-centric lifestyles. In fact, whene ...
Loading Comments...