Climate activists have hailed a speech by United Nations secretary General Antonio Guterres which has told the global insurance industry to withdraw their involvement in fossil fuels and carbon harmful firms.
In his closing speech at the Insurance Development Forum Summit, Mr Guterres (above) called for the phase out of fossil fuel insurance.
“I encourage the insurance industry to align its portfolios and investments with net zero by 2050. Your investment should not be contributing to climate pollution but should be directed towards climate solutions,” he said. “Invest in renewables, low- and zero-carbon transport, and climate resilient infrastructure. Almost 20 insurance companies, as asset owners, have joined the net zero asset owner alliance that was convened in 2019. The Alliance is the gold standard in terms of setting credible and transparent targets and timelines to back the net zero pledges that members have made. I encourage more to join these collective efforts and ensure asset owners send a strong signal across the investment chain.”
He added: “We need net zero commitments to cover your underwriting portfolios, and this should include the underwriting of coal and all fossil fuels. COP 26 must signal the end of coal. I support the G7 commitment to end all public international support for coal by the end of this year. Your industry needs to follow suit. Friends, as well as mitigation, we must also emphasize adaptation. I have recently been calling for more and better catastrophe-trigged instruments, easier access to flexible finance, and increased support for regional adaptation and financing. I am pleased to see this forum at the forefront.”
Peter Bosshard, (below) Global Coordinator of the Insure Our Future network said the speech signalled a clear message to the insurance sector to walk away from fossil fuels.
“The call to action from the UN Secretary General and the recent 1.5C report by the International Energy Agency leave insurance companies no hiding place,” he said. “They have to accept the scientific evidence and immediately stop insuring coal, new oil and new gas projects or abdicate their pretensions of climate leadership.
“Laggards like AIG, Lloyd’s of London and Tokio Marine should immediately end all insurance support for coal, and supposed insurance industry leaders like Allianz, AXA and Zurich should end their insurance for new oil and gas projects before COP26 in Glasgow.”
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