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THE NEED TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUEL

March 22 2018, SUVA: The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) congratulates the Government of Ireland on being the world’s first country to fully divest public money from fossil fuels. This follows the recent announcement by the Irish Parliament passed in the historic legislation in a 90 to 53 vote in favour of dropping coal, oil and gas investments from the €8bn (£6.8bn) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, part of the Republic’s National Treasury Management Agency.

The bill is likely to pass into law over the next few months after it is reviewed by the Irish Parliament’s financial committee. Once enacted, the bill would force the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell its investment in fossil fuel industries over the next five years.

PIDF Secretary General, François Martel, while congratulating the Irish government, said that they stand in solidarity with impacted and developed countries around the world who are taking the lead for action in promoting a significant and urgent reduction in GHG emissions.

“I have the mandate from the Pacific Leaders to continue to fight and advocate for this ambitious and urgent work to reduce emissions globally. This is in accordance with the PIDF’s custodian role of the Suva Declaration on Climate Change championed at COP21 in Paris and by the signing of the LOFOTEN declaration at COP23 in Bonn,” said the PIDF Secretary General.

The Lofoten Declaration “affirms that it is the urgent responsibility and moral obligation of wealthy fossil fuel producers (and signatories to the Paris Agreement) to lead in putting an end to fossil fuel development and to manage the decline of existing production.” The Pacific Islands Development Forum was the first intergovernmental organization to sign the Declaration, which has been signed by approximately 500 nongovernmental organizations globally.

He further added that parties to the UN Framework on the Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) need to take notice and follow the example of Ireland to send a strong message to fossil fuels companies that their times are coming to an end, and that whatever reserve of fossil fuels they hold, they have lost the interest of major investors for the future. This is the paradigm shift that is needed if the Pacific Islands are to survive and if the world is to achieve the target of no more than 1.5 degree Celsius increase from pre-industrial levels.

“Potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal present in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us way beyond 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius of warming and for the world to stay within the Paris climate limits, new fossil fuel production must be halted” commented Secretary General Martel.

He elaborated that this requires stopping exploration for, and expansion of, new reserves and a managed decline and just transition away from fossil fuel production starting with wealthy coal producing countries, like Australia, and other states that have the means to act first and fastest, and divest from fossil fuels.  It also means to stop exploration in the Arctic Circle, and advocate for its trans-boundary protection.

“Hopefully, after Norway’s sovereign pension fund partial divestment in 2015, this Government of Ireland’s move towards divestment will send the right signal to business investors in all markets around the world.”

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A message to the world from the German Youths Delegation, that began the Fiji – Germany Youth Exchange Programme on Climate Change prior to COP23. The delegation was provided an overview of PIDF and its position on climate change and sustainable development through green/blue economies. The exchange programme was co-organised by the Youth Alliance for Future Energies & Project Survival Pacific, with the support of the German Ministry of Environment.

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