What’s The Problem With Coal
Generating about 44% of the world’s CO2 emissions, burning coal is the single most important cause of climate change.
Scientists have found that we cannot afford to build any new coal power plants and need to retire existing plants early to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid catastrophic climate chaos.
Even beyond climate change, coal kills. Burning coal is a main cause of air pollution, which killed an estimated 4.2 million people around the world in 2015. Coal mining claims the lives of miners through accidents and black lung disease, pollutes rivers and streams, and leads to land grabbing and deforestation.
With wind and solar power are already cheaper than coal even when the environmental and public health costs of burning coal are excluded, there is no justification for developing new coal projects.
We expect the insurance industry to protect us from the impacts of catastrophic risk. Insurance companies have warned about the risks of climate change since the 1970s, and have taken modest steps to protect the climate such as offering reduced fees for low-emission products.
At the same time, insurance companies support new coal projects by offering insurance coverage and by investing billions of dollars in fossil fuel companies. Their critical role in underwriting coal undermines the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Our best insurance is to keep coal in the ground. Insurers need to act now.