Climate change campaigners yesterday protested at the headquarters of Lloyd’s for insuring coal and tar sands operations around the world.
Insure Our Future, a global network of non-government organisations and social activists, claims Lloyd’s has become the “insurer of last resort” for fossil fuel projects, including the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia, the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada and reinsuring Polish coal mines.
The campaigners argue 19 global insurers have restricted insurance and investments in coal and tar sands.
More than 70 financial institutions, including 18 insurers have already withdrawn from or pledged not to be involved in the Adani Carmichael coal mine, with European insurers including Talanx and Zurich not renewing cover for the Trans Mountain pipeline.
In November 2017, Lloyd’s adopted a policy to restrict coal investments but the move was criticised by environmental lawyers ClientEarth and Insure Our Future for covering 2.5% of its marker, leaving it “free to continue business as usual”.
“Lloyd’s needs to act on the science follow other leading insurers and stop providing the insurance cover that supports and enable climate destroying coal and tar sands projects,” said Insure Our Future European co-ordinator Lindsay Keenan. “Lloyd’s has both a moral imperative and long-term self interest to act as society’s risk manager and stop being a stain on the European insurance industry.”
Coal is the biggest single source of carbon emissions, with Climate Analytics, a climate science institute, calculating that holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C will require global coal combustion to peak by 2020, fall by 80% below 2010 levels over the next decade, and end before 2040.
Tar sands are also one of the highest carbon sources of oil. Financial think tank Carbon Tracker warns the high production costs of tar sands mean that any new investments risk becoming stranded assets.