Plaid Cymru has called for the Welsh Government to join the example of the Republic of Ireland and divest from fossil fuel companies.
Shadow environment minister Llyr Gruffydd AM asked Welsh Government Finance Minister Rebecca Evans to commit to divest from fossil fuel companies during Finance Questions today.
The Republic of Ireland will become the world’s first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was recently passed in Dáil Éireann.
Ms Evans said she would commit to exploring the idea of divesting from fossil fuels.
Shadow environment minister Llyr Gruffydd AM said,
“We’re way behind in Wales on divestment. The Republic of Ireland will become the world’s first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament.
“The Republic’s €8bn national investment fund will be required to sell all investments in coal, oil, gas and peat “as soon as is practicable”, which is expected to mean within five years.
“The Welsh Government should follow suit and I’m glad that the Minister will explore the possibility. I’m nevertheless concerned that it has taken an intervention from Plaid Cymru for the Minister to commit to this. The Government should be much more proactive on tackling climate change and should be leading from the front on disinvestment. This demonstrates how weak their commitment to tackling climate change really is.
“Fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – are the main drivers of climate change. If we want a healthy, safe climate we need to leave remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Further extraction, burning and investment in fossil fuels is not compatible with a just, safe and fair future.”
- At the 2015 Paris Summit, all countries agreed to contribute to global emissions reductions by pursuing efforts to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC. Already, at just 1ºC of warming, people around the world are losing their lives, their livelihoods and being forced into climate-induced migration.
- On 20 March 2018, Cardiff University announced that it would stop investing in fossil fuels stating that it anticipates being free of investment in fossil fuel companies by 2021. This followed sustained pressure from student, staff and environmental groups such as people and planet. The group’s website claims that 69 UK universities have committed to divest, totalling £11bn.
- On 29 March 2018, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, called on Local Authorities to divest from fossil fuels and to demonstrate how climate risk is being incorporated into their current and future fund’s investment strategy. She stated: “In line with the Paris Agreement, the Environment (Wales) Act and the Well-being of Future Generations Act, pension funds in Wales should be demonstrating how they are considering climate risk in their investment decisions.”