Insurers urged to cut ties with oil and gas

18th June 2020


Web oil istock 506704344

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Finance

Author

Joanne Ford

Insurance companies must end all support for new oil and gas projects in order to meet international climate targets, NGOs supporting the Unfriend Coal campaign have said in a letter to CEOs today.

They also released research showing that four of the 15 biggest oil and gas insurers have publicly backed the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, while seven have already restricted insurance for coal.

The Unfriend Coal campaign has so far focused its activities on campaigning for insurers to stop underwriting and investing in coal, but has now expanded its scope to oil and gas and rebranded as Insure Our Future.

“Insurers have a responsibility to support international climate targets and align their businesses with the Paris Agreement,“ says the letter to CEOs, which is signed by 18 international NGOs.

“As governments plan the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, insurers need to champion the transition to a sustainable, fair and resilient future as underwriters, investors and corporate citizens.“

Chubb, Liberty Mutual, The Hartford, Allianz, AXA, Munich Re and Zurich have already restricted insurance for coal, with the latter four companies also pledging to align their investment portfolios with a maximum 1.5°C of warming.

However, Insure our Future said that AIG, Travelers and Tokio Marine have taken no action on fossil fuel insurance, and warned that governments are planning to increase oil production from 100 to 120 million barrels per day by 2040 – three times the level compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Its letter to 27 leading property and casualty insurers, and three leading insurance investors, calls on them to:

  • Immediately cease insuring new oil or gas expansion projects
  • Commit to phasing out insurance for oil and gas companies in line with a 1.5°C pathway
  • Immediately cease insuring new coal projects and coal companies
  • Divest all assets from oil, gas and coal companies that are not in line with a 1.5°C pathway
  • Bring stewardship activities in line with a 1.5°C pathway in a transparent way, including forceful advocacy for a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

“The massive disruption of the fossil fuel industry due to COVID-19 offers an opportunity to accelerate the required low-carbon transition,“ said Insure Our Future global coordinator Peter Bosshard.

“At a time when powerful governments are bailing out politically well-connected oil and gas companies, the insurance industry needs to stand up as a voice of reason and bring scientific evidence into the decision-making process about high-carbon projects.“

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

A social conscience

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

What is the role for nature in the Climate Change Act? Sophie Mairesse reports

20th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close