Ireland Looks to Become First Country to Stop Funding Fossil Fuels

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The Irish Parliament has just passed a bill to halt all public funding of coal, oil, and gas companies. If the bill becomes law, Ireland will become the first country to completely divest from fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill saw wide support from almost all of Ireland’s major political parties and will require the nation’s massive Strategic Investment Fund to sell off all existing investments in fossil fuel industries by 2023.

Deputy Thomas Pringle, who introduced the bill, says he sees divestment as a necessary action for people and for the planet.

“Ethical financing is a symbol to these global corporations that their continual manipulation of climate science, denial of the existence of climate change, and their controversial lobbying practices of politicians around the world is no longer tolerated,” Pringle told the Independent. “We cannot accept their actions while millions of poor people in underdeveloped nations bear the brunt of climate change forces as they experience famine, mass emigration, and civil unrest as a result.”

In October, the Irish government also voted to ban fracking, but Ireland isn't the only European nation taking steps to distance themselves from fossil fuels and address the causes of climate change. Norway divested from coal in 2015, yanking €7.4 billion (nearly $8 billion) back from their investment fund. And in January, Sweden’s fierce deputy Prime Minister signed a law mandating zero emissions by 2045.