Climate protestors turned their attention of the Lloyd’s market this weekend with hundreds gathered outside its Lime Street building to create a new artwork calling for action on insuring fossil fuel projects.
The Climate Reparations Bloc created four large-scale artworks one of which called for insurers to rule out the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
The group said the action forms the latest calling for the London insurance market, in particular Lloyd’s of London and its syndicates, to take action on climate change and rule out EACOP. “Most recently, QBE, Suncorp, Generali, Aspen and Helvetia stated that they will not be providing insurance support to the EACOP, making 18 insurance companies who have ruled it out overall,” it stated. “QBE and Suncorp are two of Australia’s biggest insurers. Generali is Italy’s biggest insurer. Climate activists are sending the message that they need more than the ‘olive branch’ Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown offered them in September – they need firm commitments on projects like EACOP.”
The East Africa Crude Oil pipeline, or EACOP is a 1,443 kilometre pipeline planned for Uganda and Tanzania. Protestors say it threatens to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land, severely degrade critical water resources and wetlands in both Uganda and Tanzania, and rip through numerous sensitive biodiversity hotspots. They add it is estimated the oil transported via the pipeline would generate 34 million tons of carbon emissions per year at peak production. EACOP has been condemned by the European parliament for its associated human rights abuses in Uganda and Tanzania.
“While communities in Uganda and Tanzania will be most adversely affected, foreign corporations in the Global North will profit from it,” The group said. “French oil company Total and the majority state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) have shared ownership of 70% of the project. Global banks and investors are providing financing.
“Without multinational insurance companies to underwrite the project, EACOP won’t be possible. The project is expected to be insured by Lloyd’s of London insurance market, which continues to profiteer from offering (re)insurance to climate-destroying projects. Even the very oil the pipeline extracts and transports will be sold to the overseas market. Activists in East Africa continue to call on allies worldwide to place pressure on the corporations and institutions that are propping up EACOP.”
Coleen Scott of Inclusive Development International, a key partner in the #StopEACOP campaign, added: “We are calling on UK-based corporations, including insurers in the Lloyd’s of London marketplace and Standard Chartered bank, to rule out support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline – publicly and immediately. Insurers and banks will not get away with financing or underwriting projects that threaten livelihoods and lives, and continually violate the human rights of communities that oppose them or have the misfortune of being in their way. It’s the flow of global finance that enables devastating projects like EACOP to go ahead, and we have the power to cut this off at its source. We cannot allow companies on our doorstep to profit from the displacement and exploitation of the Global South any longer.”
Elara Shurety, from UK-based Coal Action Networks said: “In climate movements, the momentum targeting the insurance industry on their climate record continues to build. More and more people are realising these climate-destroying projects can’t go ahead without insurance from places like the Lloyd’s of London marketplace. We’ve seen headway in recent months, with insurers globally committing to rule out EACOP in rapid succession. But we need those that haven’t to take action now, and to stand against the human rights abuses that are taking place in the name of this climate-wrecking pipeline. More than this, Lloyd’s urgently needs to commit the marketplace to policies ruling out new fossil fuel projects in alignment with the science on keeping global temperatures below 1.5°C warming – net-zero by 2050 is nowhere near enough.”