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Ireland could become the first country in the world to quit fossil fuel investments completely, after the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill was passed by the country’s lower house, the Dáil Éireann.
The BBC reports that Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund will put an end to oil, gas, and coal investments in five years if the upper house of parliament passes the bill, which is expected to happen soon and without any problems.
The fund, worth around US$10.4 billion, has an exposure of almost US$400 million (300 million euro) to the fossil fuel industry, which it will have to eliminate after the upper house—the Seanad—passes the legislation, which will probably take place in September.
Ireland is one of the worst performers in the European Union in the race to hit the Paris Agreement climate change targets. It was ranked 49th out of 59 signatories to the agreement in the latest Climate Change Performance Index, and also happened to be the lowest-ranked EU member on this list.
The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill, according to proponents, will help the country meet its obligation sunder the agreement.
Ireland may become the first country to fully exit fossil fuels, but it is not the first one to consider the move. Last November, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Norway’s US$1-trillion Government Pension Fund Global, recommended the removal of oil and gas stocks—US$35 billion worth of shares—from its equity benchmark index to make Norway’s wealth and economy less vulnerable to a permanent drop in oil and gas prices.
“This advice is based exclusively on financial arguments and analyses of the government’s total oil and gas exposure and does not reflect any particular view of future movements in oil and gas prices or the profitability or sustainability of the oil and gas sector,” said Egil Matsen, Deputy Governor at Norges Bank, the manager of the fund that has accumulated its wealth from Norway’s oil revenues over the past two decades.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.