Jennifer Whitmore TD

The new €3.1 billion Climate and Nature Fund must not be allowed to facilitate fossil fuel related investments that are at odds with Government policy to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse emissions, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“The 2018 Irish Fossil Fuel Divestment Act was hailed at the time as a ground-breaking piece of legislation which made Ireland a global pioneer in divesting public money from fossil fuel assets.

“However, with the world now in the grip of climate breakdown, the limitations of this Act have become increasingly apparent. Important amendments are required to include all fossil fuel use and the addition of agribusiness and agrichemical companies within its scope. The exclusion of hedge funds linked to fossil fuel exploration is another anomaly within the Act that needs to be resolved.

“Research conducted by Action Aid revealed that in January of this year, Irish financial institutions held $US13.2 million in bonds and shares attributable to fossil fuels in the Global South. Of this, the State-run Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) held $US11.2 million, mostly in bonds issued by a Chinese electric utility company.

“The Government must not make the same mistakes again with the Climate and Nature Fund when it comes on stream in 2026.

“As COP28 gets underway this week, there must be a greater focus on ensuring that Ireland’s tax and regulatory regimes are fully consistent with our climate change ambitions.”

November 29, 2023

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