‘We’re setting off the global fire alarm’ XR and Money Rebellion smoke out Lloyd's insurers for ensuring climate breakdown - Extinction Rebellion UK

‘We’re setting off the global fire alarm’ XR and Money Rebellion smoke out Lloyd’s insurers for ensuring climate breakdown

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Videos and stills: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1QKSQGNo7Q3VK7rTSAwNjIYJIxlqrF-49?usp=sharing

Lloyd’s of London was swathed in smoke and racked by sirens today (Thursday) as the giant insurers became the latest target of a hard-hitting national climate crisis campaign that has made headlines around the world.

Protesters from Money Rebellion, a sister movement to Extinction Rebellion, set off fire alarm sirens and black and red smoke flares outside the iconic Lloyd’s of London HQ in London as executives and shareholders held their Annual General Meeting inside.

Activists from Coal Action Network, Mothers Rise Up and Eko arranged for staff phones at both Lloyd’s and their insurers Probitas to be bombarded with thousands of dropped calls to ‘sound the alarm’ to everyone inside their offices. Meanwhile, outside Lloyd’s, banners reading “Lloyd’s Insures the Climate Crisis” were unfurled.

In 2022 Lloyd’s of London cancelled its in-person ASM [1] with their Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown stating that “the risk of disruption has significantly increased” from protests. Shortly before this year’s AGM Lloyd’s, made a statement informing staff that they were expecting protests and that “teams across Lloyd’s are working with the police to ensure the safety of everyone in the building.” [2]

Claude Fourcroy, from Money Rebellion, said: “Lloyd’s of London are running scared, not from climate breakdown, but public anger. As the world braces itself for more floods and forest fires, instead of ending their support for new fossil fuels, they are preparing for protests. 

“Lloyd’s and their insurers are enabling new fossil fuel projects like expansion of oil and gas in the North Sea and Norway, Adani’s Carmichael “climate bomb” coal mine [3], and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. No matter what they do to try to stop us, we won’t let Lloyd’s silence us.” 

Earlier in the morning, activists used fire extinguishers to cover Lloyd’s insurer Probitas offices with black paint. Probitas1492, provides insurance for the Adani Carmichael coal mine’s rail and port network via its syndicate at Lloyd’s. [4] The slogan “Probitas Stop Adani” was stencilled onto the building facade and signage left near to the building read: “Warning: climate catastrophe”.

The actions are the latest part of a wave of disruption by Money Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion and allies such as Fossil Free London that has targeted the AGMs of fossil fuel giants Shell and major banks and financiers including HSBC, Lloyd’s Banking Group and Barclays to call out their climate crimes [5]. 

On Tuesday, dramatic video footage of activists infiltrating and wrecking Shell’s AGM went viral online and made TV and press headlines in the UK and around the world. Protesters attempted to storm the stage after singing, chanting and a succession of speeches inviting Shell to “go to hell” and calling out their climate crimes and human rights violations stopped proceedings for more than hour.

Protest choirs, chanting activists and eloquent speech-makers have invaded multiple bank and fossil fuel AGMs over the past two weeks, causing chaos and bringing their message about their criminal funding of the expansion of the global gas, oil and coal industries into the homes of millions.

“This is just the beginning,” continued Fourcroy. “This campaign has built a movement of movements that will simply not stop until we have stopped the financiers who are pouring billions into new fossil fuel projects and setting our futures on fire.”

Further Quotes

Elara Shurety of Coal Action Network, which campaigns to end fossil fuel insurance as part of the Insure our Future Campaign, said: “Yesterday’s disclosure that Lloyd’s is insuring expansion of North Sea Oil and Gas [6] shows Lloyd’s ‘guidelines’ on coal and fossil fuels are not working. The science is clear: no new fossil fuel exploitation should commence if we are to stay within 1.5C of warming and avoid complete climate collapse.” [7]

Gurridyula Gaba Wunggu, of the Waddananggu tribe who are the traditional owners of Wangan-Jagalingou country where Adani’s Carmicheal mine began operating in 2022, said: “Adani does not have our free, prior and informed consent to have his mine. By insuring Adani Carmichael’s rail network, Lloyd’s of London and Probitas1492 are enabling this breach of our human rights and allowing Adani to destroy our sacred sites. We’re asking Probitas1492 and Lloyd’s of London to walk away from Adani.”

Notes to editors

[1] Lloyd’s cancels its 2022 in-person AGM over protest fears https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/lloyds-london-agm-goes-virtual-activist-threat-2022-05-11/

[2] Lloyd’s inform staff of expected protests https://www.lloyds.com/news-and-insights/market-communications/corporate-notices/protests-25-may-2023

[3] Adani’s Carmichael coal mine “climate bomb” https://www.stopadani.com/why_stop_adani

[4] Lloyd’s and Probitas1492 named as Adani Carmichael coal insurers https://www.marketforces.org.au/probitas1492-adani-insurers/

[5] Extinction Rebellion press release archive on recent wave of AGM disruptions https://extinctionrebellion.uk/press/

[6] Lloyd’s underwriting massive expansion of oil and gas in Norway​​​​​​​ https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-norway-stateless/2023/05/29fbf8d4-ensuring-disaster-final-20220523-13-41.pdf Greenpeace Norway revealed yesterday for the first time that at least 69 insurance companies – many of them syndicates at Lloyd’s – are underwriting insurance for the 21 companies planning new oil and gas fields in Norway’s massive oil and gas expansion

[7] Comprehensive analysis finds new fossil fuels incompatible with 1.5C goal https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-fossil-fuels-incompatible-with-1-5c-goal-comprehensive-analysis-finds/

More detail about Adani’s Carmichael “climate bomb”

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland Australia has been described as a “climate bomb”, adding a potential 4.6 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere if the company succeeds in expanding it.​​​​​​​ The transport infrastructure insured by Probitas1492 transports coal from Adani’s Carmichael coal mine to its NQXT coal port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Indigenous leaders occupying the ancestral lands which Adani‘s Carmichael mine seeks to extend to have been resisting the project since its inception.

Probitas1492’s underwriting of Adani’s Carmichael coal transportation infrastructure comes despite Lloyd’s of London’s marketplace policy that, as of 1 January 2022, asks syndicates not to take on new thermal coal risks. 45 major insurance companies, including 28 that manage Lloyd’s syndicates, have ruled out any underwriting for Adani’s Carmichael coal project. This includes nine of the ten biggest syndicates at Lloyd’s.

Information about Probitas1492’s underwriting of the transport infrastructure of the Carmichael mine via their Lloyd’s syndicate was obtained by Market Forces Australia. Both Probitas and Lloyd’s of London have refused to comment on this. 

Several syndicates which have been known to have provided insurance for Carmichael previously (Brit, Apollo, Ascot, Aspen, Tokio Marine Kiln) have backed out under civil society pressure.

Lloyd’s of London, a member of the Net Zero Insurers Alliance, stated in 2020 that it was asking its managing agents to not provide any new cover for coal-fired plants, coal mines, oil sands and Arctic energy exploration from 1st January 2022, but has been criticised over lack of follow-through.

The full list of Lloyd’s managing agents yet to publicly distance from Carmichael include: Barbican, Hamilton, Markel, Renaissance Re, SA Meacock, Starr, AEGIS, Antares, Ark, Atrium, Chaucer, Inigo, WR Berkley, Riverstone. 

In total, 113 major companies in the banking, insurance, rail freight and engineering sectors have now ruled out support for Galilee Basin coal export projects like Adani Carmichael, or the Adani Group entirely. 

The first shipments of coal from Carmichael started in early 2022 amounting to approximately 3 million tonnes of coal from the mine so far. However, Adani is threatening to rapidly and significantly expand Carmichael from 3 Metric Tons Per Annum to 30 MTPA in the next 2-3 years to make it Australia’s biggest coal mine within a few years.

The mine is progressing on the land of the Wangan and Jagalingou people without their consent.

Adani’s Godda power station, in the state of Jharkhand in eastern India, is where coal from the Carmichael mine will be burned to produce dirty, overpriced power for Bangladesh. This 1.6GW coal plant has led to the displacement of thousands of indigenous Adivasi people, and two workers have already been killed on site.

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

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Time has almost entirely run out to address the climate and ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, leading to societal collapse and mass loss of life. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

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