An Taisce is marking Global Divestment day 13th-14th February 2015 by inviting the Irish churches and third level educational institutions to join the international movement to divest from fossil fuels.

The campaign is being promoted by and is already endorsed by several churches and universities across the world such as Glasgow University in Scotland.

The year 2014 was Earth's warmest on record, according to separate reports by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released in January 20I5. With the exception of 1998, the ten warmest years on record have now occurred since the year 2000.

The UN international climate negotiations to be held in Paris later this year need to reach an agreement to meet the 2009 Copenhagen Accord target limit greenhouse gas emissions to the level required to stabilize the global climate at no more than 2 degrees above pre industrial levels as.

The scientific consensus is that this requires leaving the major part of existing fuel deposits in the ground, In January 2015 the international scientific journal Nature published a major paper the level of fossil fuel burring compatible with maintaining a stable climate:

If global warming is to be limited in this century to the much-publicized 2 °C rise compared to pre-industrial levels, fossil fuel use and the associated release of greenhouse gases will need to be severely limited……globally, a third of oil reserves, half of gas reserves and over 80% of current coal reserves should remain unused during the next 40 years in order to meet the 2 °C target and that the development of resources in the Arctic and any increase in unconventional oil production are incompatible with efforts to limit climate change.

This campaign for divestment is supported by Former President Mary Robinson, now UN Climate envoy, who summed up the issue in relation to fossil fuel in February 2014 stating:

This is how inter-generational equity can be achieved: promoting a new investment model that responds to the risks posed by climate change. By avoiding investment in high-carbon assets that become obsolete, and by prioritising sustainable alternatives, we build capacity and resilience, particularly for more vulnerable people – while lowering carbon emissions.

Also, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in September 2014 called for end to the fossil era and argued that continued fossil fuel investment was a moral issue, advocating a boycott similar to that against apartheid era South Africa:

People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. […] It makes no sense to invest in companies that undermine our future. To serve as custodians of creation is not an empty title; it requires that we act, and with all the urgency this dire situation demands

Churches and third level institutions now have an important opportunity to take a leadership role in advancing the investment and economic structures to redirect investment into energy conservation and renewables.


For further information, please call:
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce
Tel: +353 87 2411995
Email: [email protected]
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland


  1. The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment February 2015
  2. Sample Letters going to Universities (Similar sent to all 3rd Level Institutions)