Ireland Plans To Exit Fossil Fuel Investments Entirely

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Last November, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway's US$1-trillion Government Pension Fund Global, recommended the removal of oil and gas stocks-US$35 billion worth of shares-from its equity benchmark index to make Norway's wealth and economy less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.

The Republic of Ireland will become the world's first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament. The fund will have five years from the time the bill becomes law to divest.

The bill is expected to pass relatively quickly through the Seanad (senate), and will force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to end any investments in non-renewable energy in five years.

Investors increasingly see keeping money in fossil fuels as a risk, and public pressure is also helping lead to divestment.

The bill is the culmination of more than two years' work by Mr Pringle, Trócaire, civil society groups and the Global Legal Action Network.

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The new legislation is meant to help ensure Ireland meets its commitments under the Paris Agreement, which was the first deal to unite the worldwide community in tackling climate change.

Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire said: "Today the Oireachtas has made a powerful statement". 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted, "Ireland's decision to divest from fossil fuels staggers me".

The bill, according to The Guardian, defines a fossil fuel company as a company that obtains 20 per cent or more of its revenue from exploring, extracting or refining fossil fuels.

Having been ranked the second-worst European country for Climate Action last month, Ireland is now ready to play its part in helping to tackling a problem that is adversely affecting numerous world's most vulnerable countries, according to Pringle. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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