Insuring Coal No More press briefing at COP24

December 5, 2018

While Europe’s major insurers step back from coal, smaller ones and US, Japanese, and Australian insurance companies are enabling coal expansion from Poland to Australia.

Date and time: Thursday, December 6, 12:30-13:00 (CET)

Location: Press Conference Room Katowice (Area F)

Contact:Patrick McCully, patrick@ran.org, +353 877 757 010

Speakers from Poland, Australia, France, and the United States will present new information on the role of insurance companies in enabling coal expansion around the world. Hugely controversial planned coal projects such as the Adani Carmichael mine in Australia and the Ostrołęka C power plant in Poland will only proceed if insurance companies are willing to support them.

Research from the Unfriend Coal coalition shows that seven of Europe’s largest insurers have restricted their underwriting services to coal, and 17 have divested from coal companies. Meanwhile, none of the major US insurers have committed to restricting their support for coal, tar sands, or other fossil fuels. Insurers in the Asia-Pacific also continue their support for all fossil fuels.

Speakers at the press briefing will be:

  • Lucie Pinson, European coordinator, Unfriend Coal campaign
  • Kuba Gogolewski, Senior Finance Campaigner, Fundacja Rozwój TAK – Odkrywki NIE
  • Toby Thorpe, Australian Youth Climate Coalition
  • Patrick McCully, Climate and Energy Program Director, Rainforest Action Network

Lucie Pinson said, “Some of the world’s biggest and most trusted insurers have started exiting the coal sector, amplifying the message sent by the IPCC that coal must have no future if we want millions of people to have one. This development must be urgently accelerated. Going forward we will focus attention on the laggards in order to reach critical mass and make coal uninsurable”

Kuba Gogolewskisaid, “Recent moves away from coal by major EU insurers are causing problems for Polish coal companies’ expansion plans and making room for the renewables industry to take root in Poland. Our concern is that secondary European insurers and the US insurers will fill the coal insurance gap and help keep Poland firmly in the grip of the filthy and expensive coal industry.”

Toby Thorpe, “The Adani Group is planning to dig up gigatonnes of carbon from its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland. 27 banks have already turned down the project. The world’s insurers must follow the banks’ lead and publicly rule out any insurance services for the mine’s construction and operation. Young people across Australia are watching. More than 15,000 youth walked out of school last week, demanding that governments take action on climate change and oppose the dangerous Adani mine.”

Patrick McCullysaid, “It is outrageous that major US insurers such as AIG, Chubb and Liberty Mutual continue to ignore the progress being made by their European peers in phasing out support for coal. We can wave goodbye to the chances of staying under 1.5°C if the US insurers treat the European insurers’ retreat from coal as an opportunity for them to ramp up their business in the sector.”

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