Ireland is first to stop investments in fossil fuel firms
Ireland has become the first country in the world to commit to no longer investing in fossil fuel companies.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, sponsored by Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, has passed through the Dáil with cross-party support and is expected to become law by the end of the year. It means the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund will have to sell off some €300m in investments across 150 companies engaged in coal, oil, gas and peat "as soon as is practicable".
The move was welcomed by climate change campaigners including Trócaire, which said it sends a powerful signal.
"The Oireachtas has made a powerful statement," executive director Éamonn Meehan said. "It has responded to the public's call for leadership on this issue and sent a powerful signal to the international community about the need to speed up the phase out of fossil fuels if global climate goals are to be delivered."
Climate campaigners insist that if existing fossil fuel resources were deployed, it would result in catastrophic climate change where temperatures would rise well above the 2C limit imposed by the Paris climate deal. There is a growing divestment campaign globally, with churches, local authorities, pension funds and universities committing to pulling investment from fossil fuel companies.
While Norway has indicated it may sell off fossil fuel holdings, no country has committed to complete divestment.
Climate campaigner Bill McKibben said it was a "landmark" moment which had "staggered" him.
The bill is the culmination of more than two years' work by Mr Pringle, Trócaire, civil society groups and the Global Legal Action Network.