Fighting climate change - Small but very welcome step

THE Paris agreement on climate change was agreed a year ago and ratified by Ireland last month when almost 200 countries were represented in Morocco for the annual United Nations climate talks.

Whether this 11th-hour deal will survive in the face of America’s president-elect Donald Trump’s dreadful, two-fingers-to-the-world decision to appoint Scott Pruitt, a staunch supporter of the fossil fuel industry and an opponent of environmental regulations, to run America’s Environmental Protection Agency remains to be seen.

Whether the deal survives the inevitable dilution in the face of intensive domestic lobbying — take a bow IFA — is another open question but that does not make it any less essential to embrace measures that may not make a significant difference on their own but add to the momentum and cultural shift still, despite Trump’s antediluvian, anti-science view, gathering pace.

The decision by Trinity College Dublin to divest its endowment fund of all investments in fossil fuel companies is one of those measures.

It will not be a gamechanger on its own but it is a significant statement and one that will hopefully be echoed in other institutions in a similar position.

After all, if centres of learning, fully aware of the drivers and consequences of climate change continue to invest in fossil fuels then they can, unfortunately, be categorised with the decision to appoint Pruitt to oversee America’s environment.

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