Ireland becomes the first country to sell its shares in fossil fuels
The Republic of Ireland has announced plans to divest from fossil fuels, becoming the first country in the world to do so.
The nation passed a bill with all-party support in its lower house of parliament on 12 July, the Guardian reported.
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, the country’s €8bn (US$7.07bn) national fund, will sell of its investments in fossil fuels, including coal, oil, gas, and peat.
The investments, which are spread across 150 firms and total more than €300mn ($265mn) are anticipated to be sold within the next five years.
“The [divestment] movement is highlighting the need to stop investing in the expansion of a global industry which must be brought into managed decline if catastrophic climate change is to be averted,” said Thomas Pringle, the politician responsible for introducing the bill.
“Ireland by divesting is sending a clear message that the Irish public and the international community are ready to think and act beyond narrow short term vested interests.”
“Today, the Oireachtas [Irish parliament] has made a powerful statement,” Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, the international development charity.
“It has responded to the public’s call for leadership on this issue and sent a powerful signal to the international community about the need to speed up the phase-out of fossil fuels if global climate goals are to be delivered.”
“This is vital. Climate change is one of the leading drivers of poverty and hunger in the developing world and we see its devastating impact every day in the communities in which we work.”
“Extended droughts, floods and storms have already contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, with millions more facing hunger and in need of urgent aid just to survive.”
“Ireland has gained a reputation internationally in recent years as a ‘climate laggard’ and just last month Ireland was ranked the second-worst European country for climate action, so the passing of this bill is good news but has to mark a significant change of pace on the issue.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.