Ireland becomes first country to ditch fossil fuel

The Republic of Ireland will become the world’s first country to cut off its reliance on fossil fuel consumption, the Guardian UK reports.

Through a bill passed by its parliament, the country will sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies.

After the bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament, the country will then sell off more than €300 million shares it has in coal, oil, peat and gas as soon as practicable.

The report noted that the state’s €8 billion national investment fund will be required to sell all its investments in coal, oil, gas and peat “as soon as is practicable”, which is expected to mean within five years.

Apart from Ireland, Norway’s huge $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund only partially divested from fossil fuels, targeting some coal companies, and still considering its oil and gas holdings.

The Irish fossil fuel divestment bill was passed in the lower house of parliament on Thursday and it is expected to pass rapidly through the upper house, meaning it could become law before the end of the year.

Also, the Irish state investment fund holds more than €300 million in fossil fuel investments in 150 companies.

“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.

Pringle, explained: “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.”