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As Trump Attacks Science, Ireland Takes Step to Divest From Fossil Fuels

'With a climate-skeptic recently inaugurated into the White House, this move by elected representatives in Ireland will send out a powerful message'

The advancement of the bill, said Fossil Free Europe, is "[y]et another reason to never doubt, even in trying times such as these, that we are winning together." (Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr/cc)

The climate movement is celebrating a victory after Irish lawmakers on Thursday passed a bill that would make the country the first to fully divest from fossil fuels.

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill passed the lower house of parliament, the Dáil, 90 to 53—a "historic" vote, according to Friends of the Earth Ireland—and now heads to a parliamentary committee.

It was put forth by Independent Donegal Dáil member (TD) Thomas Pringle, who said it "will ensure that the government is serious about climate action and achieves the goals set out in the Paris Agreement." Specifically, the Donegal Independent explains, the legislation

calls on government to take out any public money the government has invested in fossil fuel companies over a course of five years. [Pringle] said about 17 per cent of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund [ISIF], which includes more than €800 million [$856 million], is invested in fossil fuel companies.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan TD praised its passage, saying: "There is a huge opportunity as a result of this bill to switch the money invested by the ISIF away from polluting fossil fuel industries, and into clean energy investments. The Government needs to recognize the economic opportunities of going Green, and massively ramp up their ambition."

The campaign for the divestment has been led by Catholic charity Trócaire, which noted the significance of the bill's passage in the context of a Trump administration.

"With a climate-skeptic recently inaugurated into the White House, this move by elected representatives in Ireland will send out a powerful message," declared Trócaire executive director Éamonn Meehan.

"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," he continued, adding that he hopes it "will inspire other countries to follow our lead."

For Fossil Free Europe, the advancing of the legislation should be cause to celebrate.

"Yet another reason to never doubt, even in trying times such as these, that we are winning together," it said

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