In a historic move, Ireland may become the world’s first country to fully divest from all fossil fuels, according to 350.org’s Fossil Free Europe. The country’s parliament just passed “first-of-its-kind fossil fuel divestment legislation” with a majority vote.
The historic bill could enable Ireland to fully divest their sovereign wealth fund, which is worth more than 8 billion Euros or around $8.5 billion, from oil, gas, and coal. Fossil Free Europe and Trócaire reported that the bill passed in the Irish parliament’s lower house, the Dáil. Fossil Free Europe described the event as “an important moment in the history of the divestment movement.”
Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said in a statement, “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.”
The bill is now headed for the committee stage, according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe, who noted last week all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.
Meehan thinks the move could send a powerful message to the rest of the world, as a climate change denier takes control of the White House, and said, “The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead.”
A few years ago Norway’s sovereign wealth fund also made a move to divest from some fossil fuel companies, but not all; according to EcoWatch they still had billions in other fossil fuel companies.