Insurance Rebellion has this afternoon taken part in another nationwide protest with Extinction Rebellion, visiting the main entrance of Lloyd’s of London and setting off a stink device. The protest is the latest to highlight the group’s demands that the UK Government and insurance industry stop supporting the West Cumbria coal mine and all other fossil fuel projects.
In an accompanying Press release, Insurance Rebellion noted that: “The stink devices, which emitted a very strong smell of sulphur, represent the stink of the sulphur-rich coal mine, as well as the fact that the plan to build a coal mine in a climate emergency stinks.”
Lloyd’s is the focus of the protests, the group said, because it is already one of the biggest fossil fuel insurers in the world, and many of its syndicates “are actively considering insuring the highly polluting Cumbrian coal mine among many other ecocidal projects.” This is despite Lloyd’s coal exclusion policy, the group said, because that allows its syndicates to take on new business in coal for the whole of 2021 and keep that business until 2030, and does not limit oil and gas insurance at all.
One of the protesters said “Lloyd’s of London’s reputation is taking increasing damage. It markets itself as a green institution, with its Instagram feed showing lots of photos of solar panels, but all the while it’s insuring the most polluting projects on the planet. Tar sands, new coal mines, drilling for oil in the Arctic - you name it, Lloyd’s is enabling it.
“The UK is getting ready to host COP26 but is a complete hypocrite of a host - our government, financial centres, and insurance industry are funding and enabling new fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, and if they carry on, there really won’t be a tomorrow. Their contempt for science and the lives of people in the UK and all over the world in pursuit of profit is shocking.”
The group is carrying out two weeks of planned actions across the UK in the run-up to the G7 Summit, and aims to draw attention to both government and institutional failure over the climate crisis. Protesters are targeting the summit as a way to get the major economies, and particularly the UK, to take urgent action.
“The Cumbrian coal mine was originally approved by Cumbria local government, but was then postponed to be considered at by a public inquiry in September 2021,” the group said. “The results of the inquiry won’t be acted on until after COP26, so this has effectively allowed the Government to delay the decision to avoid embarrassing itself on the world stage.”
Insurance Rebellion said that the coal from the Cumbrian mine has been reported as intended for use in steelmaking in the UK, but highlighted that British Steel has said it won’t be able to use the steel because of its high sulphur content, meaning 90% of the coal extracted would actually be exported.
The group stated that it is also known that the use of coking coal in steelmaking could and should be displaced completely by 2035 to achieve climate deadlines, well before the planned retirement date of the mine in 2049. It noted that investing in the coal mine will only slow down the immediately necessary decarbonisation of steel, making it much harder for global temperature rises to be held to the safe level of 1.5°C.