Ireland to become first country to divest from fossil fuels

July 13, 2018, 8:23 a.m.
Ireland's Cliffs of Moher are a popular and beautiful tourist destination.
Photo: Amanda Larson/Shutterstock

The Emerald Isle is getting a little greener; it's primed to become the first country in the world to completely divest itself of fossil fuel investments.

The bill, which passed Ireland's lower house of parliament on July 12 and is expected to move through the upper house before the end of the year, requires the country to sell off all its investments in coal, gas, oil and peat companies, some €300 million ($385 million), "as soon as is practicable." This could likely means within the next five years, according to The Guardian.

The bill defines a fossil fuel company as any business that derives 20 percent or more of its revenues from the extraction, exploration or refinement of fossil fuels.

"The [divestment] movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in the expansion of a global industry which must be brought into managed decline if catastrophic climate change is to be averted," said Thomas Pringle, the independent member of parliament who introduced the bill. "Ireland by divesting is sending a clear message that the Irish public and the international community are ready to think and act beyond narrow short-term vested interests."

While Ireland is the first country that plans to completely divest itself of fossil fuels assets, Norway has divested from some coal companies, and cities around the United States, including New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C., have made steps to divest their government and pension funds of fossil fuel assets.

Related on MNN: The case for fossil fuel divestment is economic, not just moral