Protests outside the Lloyd’s market reflect growing pressure on the insurance industry to take action on heavy polluters

Climate campaigners staged a peaceful protest outside Lloyd’s of London as it reopened its underwriting hall for the first time since lockdown.

As insurance professionals entered the building, campaigners welcome them with the message that Lloyd’s market must “wash its hands of coal and tar sands” insurance to protect the climate.

Since 2017, 19 global insurers have restricted insurance for and investments in coal and tar sands. Lloyd’s has stepped in to cover various controversial fossil fuel projects – including the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia, the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada, and reinsurance for Polish coal mines.

Coal and tar sands

Coal is the biggest single source of carbon emissions. The climate science institute Climate Analytics calculates that holding global temperature rise to 1.5°C will require global coal combustion to peak by 2020, fall by 80% below 2010 levels over the next decade, and end before 2040.

Campaigners have criticised Lloyd’s for failing to take meaningful action on climate change, and undermining the positive climate action of other insurers. A report by the Insure Our Future campaign in 2019 found that Lloyd’s has become the ‘insurer of last resort’ for fossil fuel projects.

Carrie Tsai, spokesperson for the Stop Adani campaign said: “Lloyd’s must refuse insurance for Adani’s deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive Carmichael coal project. Lloyd’s needs to act on the climate crisis, not act as the last refuge for climate wreckers like Adani to secure insurance. Insurers who associate with Adani’s toxic brand cause massive damage to their reputation.”