A climate-skeptic may be running rampant in Washington, but today the Irish Parliament gave some hope to environmentalists everywhere.
A Fossil Fuel Divestment bill, introduced to parliament for discussion last Thursday, was passed today. The bill requires the National Treasury Management Agency to sell off all its stakes in fossil fuel companies, worth over €8 billion. It also prohibits future investments in fossil fuel companies.
This legislation is the first of its kind in the world and gives an important boost to the divestment movement.
The bill was introduced to parliament by an independent representative, Thomas Pringle, who is not a member of Independent Alliance that supports the current minority government. However, the bill had majority support across all but one party, and it was passed by 90 votes to 53.
“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.” ~ Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire
Trócaire, a third world development agency, campaigned tirelessly for this legislation, which they say is critical in addressing third world deprivation.
“I have seen it on the ground, from Malawi to Honduras, climate change is decimating the world’s poorest communities…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.”
During discussions on the bill last Thursday, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan gave an impassioned speech about the positive message this sends to climate-change deniers.
Having passed the critical second stage today, the bill will now pass to committee stage, with two subsequent stages to follow before it can become law. However, with all but one major political party supporting the bill’s premise, environmentalists have good grounds to feel optimistic about this bill passing into law.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Image: James Ennis/Flickr
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina