Thanks To Students, Trinity College Dublin To Divest From Fossil Fuels: Now It’s Time For Ireland To Act

12th December 2016
Press Release

Press Release: Embargoed until 4 pm Monday 12th December 2016

An Taisce Congratulates Trinity College Dublin Students on Their Successful Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

At 1:00 pm on Tuesday, at the front gates of the Dáil, all are welcome to join the Fossil Free TCD students to celebrate this divestment success and also to call for Government to divest from all public investments in fossil fuels.

If global warming and climate change are to be limited, in line with our commitment to the Paris Agreement, then fossil fuel companies have far more coal, oil, gas and peat in the ground than can ever be burned in future. Most known fossil fuel reserves are therefore either: ‘carbon bubble’ investments that will become worthless stranded assets due to effective climate action by all nations; or, if extracted and burned, they are immoral investments that will cause increasingly damaging climate impacts on global society and natural ecosystems.

On this first anniversary of the Paris Agreement, it is very welcome that the Fossil Free TCD student campaign [Note 1] has reached agreement with the Trinity College Dublin administration to proceed with the university’s divestment from all fossil fuel stocks. NUI Galway has committed to consider fossil fuel divestment with a decision expected in February 2017 [Note 2]. Last year, NUI Maynooth, which did not have any investments in fossil fuels, pledged to continue to remain free of all fossil fuel investments in future. These universities are signalling their belief in securing the best possible future for their students and our society.

On the Irish public’s behalf, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund holds over €100 million in fossil fuel investments. This is an investment in climate failure. As well as being unjustifiable within a low carbon transition, investing in fossil fuels has already lost the State’s Investment Fund money [Note 3]. It is up to the Government to ensure that the ISIF divests from investments in carbon fuel extraction that will add to future climate pollution.

An Taisce, along with all other members of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, calls for Government to match its climate action rhetoric with real climate action on our investments and in all policy [Note 4]. It is time to divest from coal, oil, gas and peat, and invest only in a low carbon transition, enabling jobs in clean energy, building retrofit and low carbon transport.

Speaking for An Taisce’s Climate Change Committee, Phil Kearney said:

Through their inspiring campaigns as part of the global divestment movement, Ireland’s students are succeeding in pushing for a safer, fossil-free future.

We congratulate the students on their campaigning persistence and very much welcome the decision by Trinity College Dublin to divest from fossil fuels and to invest instead in low carbon energy.

We hope that NUI Galway do likewise, and that all other universities in Ireland will also join the 600 other universities, investment funds, institutions and faith groups around the world that have already pledged to achieve rapid divestment from dead-end high carbon investments.

Government now needs to show an equal commitment to a low carbon transition, to follow suit by divesting public money from the fossil fuel investments held in the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Our Government and the Oireachtas needs to reinforce the hopeful message being sent on behalf of us all by students, young people, and universities, in Ireland and around the world: Divest from fossil fuels now, invest instead in a more hopeful future.

A climate action transition strategy for the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund requires immediate divestment from fossil fuels. An Taisce urges Ireland’s Government and members of the Oireachtas to deliver with the urgency that climate action now requires.

ENDS

Phil Kearney, An Taisce Climate Change Committee. Tel: +353 86 265 9833
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce. Tel: +353 87 241 1995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.org

Notes

[Note 1]: Fossil Free TCD twitter with divestment announcements: https://twitter.com/FossilFreeTCD.

[Note 2]: NUI Galway divestment progress: http://su.nuigalway.ie/nui-galway-president-commits-fossil-fuel-divestment/

[Note 3]: “The Burning Question” Trocaire. In 2014, the ISIF was invested in: TransCanada (tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline); Peabody Energy (global coal company); RWE AG (large EU producer of electricity from coal); and companies fracking for oil and gas. https://www.trocaire.org/sites/trocaire/files/resources/policy/burning-question-climate-policy-brief.pdf

[Note 4]: “Five Tests: Policy Briefing” Stop Climate Chaos coalition http://bit.ly/SCC5tests

About An Taisce

An Taisce is a charity that works to preserve and protect Ireland's natural and built heritage. We are an independent charitable voice for the environment and for heritage issues. We are not a government body, semi-state or agency. Founded in 1948, we are one of Ireland’s oldest and largest environmental organisations.