Ireland becomes world's first nation to divest from fossil fuels

Smokestacks loom over Bull Island northeast of Dublin in 2008

Ireland's announcement comes as fossil fuel divestment gains traction globally.

In 2015, Norway came close to being the first government in the world to divest from fossil fuels: it divested part of its $1tn sovereign pension fund from some fossil fuel companies, but not all. The bill is expected to quickly pass in the upper house of parliament and could become law this year.

Ireland made history on Thursday 12 July by becoming the first country in the world to agree to sell all investments in coal, oil, gas, and peat "as soon as practicable".

The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill, passed by the lower chamber of the national parliament in Dublin with majority support from the political left, right, and center as well as non-partisan independents, will legally prohibit the government's national investment fund to sell of stakes in both coal, natural gas, and petroleum oil over the next five years between.

It was initially introduced by independent MP Thomas Pringle, followed by a long-running campaign led by Irish worldwide development charity Trócaire.

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"Ireland has gained a reputation internationally in recent years as a "climate laggard".so the passing of this Bill is good news but has to mark a significant change of pace on the issue", Trócaire's executive director, Éamonn Meehan, said in a statement Thursday.

The bill defines a fossil fuel company as a company that derives 20% or more of its revenue from exploration, extraction or refinement of fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which has been brought forward by Independent Deputy Thomas Pringle, is meant to help meet Ireland's climate change commitments, which were agreed to in the Paris Agreement. 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted, "Ireland's decision to divest from fossil fuels staggers me".

The bill also said indirect investments should not be made, unless there is unlikely to be more than 15 per cent of an asset invested in a fossil fuel undertaking.

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