July 13th, 2018
Yesterday, the Dail voted in favour of a Bill set to make Ireland the first country in the world to fully divest from fossil fuels.
The Bill, brought by Independent Deputy Thomas Pringle, is expected to pass through the Seanad and be signed into law later this year, at which point Ireland’s €8 billion sovereign investment fund will have to start dumping its oil, coal and gas assets.
The Bill will also prohibit the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund – which currently has over 300 million both directly and indirectly in fossil fuel companies – from any future investment in the industry.
The vote has received widespread international attention, from articles in global media outlets from The Guardian to the New York Times and some of the world’s leading climate and environmental activists, such as 350.org’s Bill McKibben.
McKibben shared his reaction with The Green News.
“This was one of the great moments in the six years this divestment campaign has been running and its excited people all over the planet.
“I can tell because 20,000 people have liked my tweet about it, but more because pictures are pouring in from around the globe of people visiting Irish embassies and consulates to say thank you.
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) July 13, 2018
“What really impressed me was watching the debate live-streamed from the Irish Parliament. The depth of the arguments, the clear understanding that this is a start and not a finish, and the general excitement about pushing ahead into the future were a tonic for those of us stuck in the US with our current witless politics.
“As delighted as I was by the outcome, I wasn’t surprised. I’ve been watching for years as Trocaire took these issues and put them in an Irish vernacular. I can’t think of more impressive activists anywhere on the planet!”
Bill McKibben is an author, environmentalist, and activist. In 1988 he wrote The End of Nature, the first book for a common audience about global warming. He is a co-founder and Senior Advisor at 350.org, an international climate campaign that works in 188 countries around the world.