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CLIMATE CRISIS

€5.7 billion in fossil fuel business being funnelled through Ireland to the Global South

The money is made up of shares in bonds and shares in climate-harming activities in the Global South.

SOME €5.7 BILLION IN harmful fossil fuels and agribusiness is funnelled through Ireland to the Global South, according to a new report.

The money is made up of shares in bonds and shares in climate-harming activities in the Global South.

The report, from ActionAid Ireland, indicates that Ireland is a major channel for global investment in fossil fuels and industrial agriculture.

It shows that this year, Irish financial institutions held €12.1 million of investments in fossils fuels. Of this figure, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) – which is controlled by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) – held €10.4 million, mostly in bonds issued by Chinese electric utility company State Grid Corporation of China.

The report was published to coincide with the global launch of an ActionAid International study which shows that banks all over the world provided an estimated €2.98 trillion to the fossil-fuel industry in the Global South in the seven years since the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted.

It further shows that bank financing provided to the largest industrial agriculture companies operating in the Global South totalled €320 billion over the same period.

Since the Paris Agreement, banks have provided 20 times more financing to fossil fuels and agriculture activities in the Global South than Global North governments have provided in climate finance to countries on the front lines of the climate crisis.

ActionAid Ireland CEO, Karol Balfe, said in a statement: “At a time of unprecedented climate crisis, the world’s banks and investments funds continue to invest staggering amounts into fossil fuels and environmentally harmful large-scale agribusiness in the Global South.

“Our research shows that Ireland plays a role in this through our corporation tax regime which depends on foreign direct investment.

“More than 1,200 multinational companies have established themselves in Ireland, drawn by its access to the European single market, an English-speaking workforce, and a very attractive corporation tax regime. But this comes at a cost for the world’s poor, particularly women, who are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.

The negative impact of Ireland’s corporation tax regime on the human rights and poverty levels of citizens of the global south, and its lack of coherence with Irish Aid priorities, needs to be questioned

Balfe added that Ireland became the first country in the world to divest public money from fossil fuel assets through the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018. But she said that as the climate crisis accelerates, the Act needs to be reviewed.

“The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act 2018 drew important attention to the responsibility the Irish State has in ensuring investment of public monies does not exacerbate the climate crisis.

“However, this only referred to one investment fund, and as we now understand the scale of harmful financial flows from Ireland, we must review and expand this Act.

“Unbelievably, given that the world faces a devastating climate crisis, businesses, banks and private pension funds have no legal obligation to divest from practises that are harmful to the environment.”

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