Celebrations outside the Dáil (Photo Mark Stedman – Through www.trocaire.org)
On Thursday, July 12th we went to the Dáil in Dublin to attend the debate on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill. The result was extraordinary, the law was passed and will now make its way to the Seanad. For us – an organization that promotes green energy and tries to increases awareness about climate change – it was a very important opportunity to be present at this event. The moment was fundamental to meet all the associations that promoted and supported from the beginning this bill, including Trócaire, leader in the campaign. We can feel like that part of a bigger network and we believe that only by working together will we be able to move forward.
Now Ireland is the first country in the world that will not invest public money in fossil fuels. As Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire said: “Today the Oireachtas has […] 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 change is one of the leading drivers of poverty and hunger in the developing world and we see its devastating impact every day in the communities in which we work. […] 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.” (Read the full article)
The bill, presented about two years ago by Independent TD Thomas Pringle, proposes to amend the National Treasury Management (Amendment) Act 2014, instructing the Agency to divest the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of its assets in fossil fuel companies, and to prohibit future investments in the industry. This means, for example, that semi State-owned companies would not be eligible to receive investment from the ISIF in the future. – Fossil fuel means coal, oil, natural gas, peat or any derivative thereof intended for use in the production of energy by combustion, and cannot longer be exploited if we are to remain well below the 2°C limit as required under the Paris Agreement.
Ireland has among the highest levels of consumption emissions and resource use per capita in the world, so the fact that this law was passed means that it can lead the way for the others countries to prevent dangerous effects of climate change. And we are really proud to have been present for this moment.