'Stop insuring new fossil fuels - or face direct action' - Extinction Rebellion UK

‘Stop insuring new fossil fuels – or face direct action’

Extinction Rebellion’s new Insure Our Survival campaign launches with actions at the UK insurance industry’s big awards night

The UK’s top insurers were forced to face up to their lethal role in climate breakdown at their annual awards ceremony last night (Wednesday 3 July) as Extinction Rebellion launched Insure Our Survival, a sustained campaign of non-violent direct action demanding the insurance industry pull the plug on new oil, gas and coal ventures. 

As leading figures arrived at the major industry event at the Royal Albert Hall, activists held up huge images by photographer Gideon Mendell of extreme climate crisis-driven flooding across the country that is wrecking homes, destroying lives, ruining crops and driving up food prices.

The sound of a violin played mournfully in the background as XR’s Oil Slickers swirled around the entrance area symbolising the pollution and environmental destruction caused by the fossil fuel crimes that only happen because they are underwritten by insurance firms. 

An XR choir sang a new version of John Lennon’s Imagine that included lines such as ‘Imagine all insurers, fighting for us all’. Activists held banners reading Stop Insuring New Fossil Fuels and Insure Our Survival. 

XR Oil Slickers

Each award goer was handed an Insure Our Survival business card warning that firms who continue to underwrite new oil, gas or coal projects will be targeted for non-violent direct action across the UK designed to cause reputational and revenue damage.

Alex Penson, a spokesperson for Insure Our Survival, said: “This is just the beginning. Thousands of XR activists stand ready to focus their non-violent direct action energy on the insurance firms who are greenlighting the climate crisis by providing fossil fuel crooks with the insurance they need to dig and drill for oil, gas and coal.

“Over the months ahead, we will be using a wide range of nonviolent disruptive actions and protests to cause maximum reputational and revenue damage to the insurers, underwriters and reinsurers who refuse to meet our single demand: stop insuring all new oil, gas and coal projects and infrastructure completely and for good.

“Last night we challenged insurers having a good time and congratulating each other on their good work at the Royal Albert Hall to face up to some uncomfortable truths – that some of their work leads to flooded homes and wrecked lives for their customers facing more and more climate crisis-driven extreme weather events.

“We left the leading lights of the industry in no doubt about what they need to do: stop insuring new oil, gas and coal and focus on underwriting renewable energy to speed a just transition to a low or no-carbon economy.

Activists hold images by photographer Gideon Mendell of extreme climate crisis-driven flooding across the UK

“The insurance industry has a superpower. At a stroke, it could stop the fossil fuel crooks in their tracks and save the lives of billions of people threatened from the worst-case climate scenarios that scientists are saying are increasingly possible.

“It’s time for insurers to use their superpower or be held responsible when all of our children face a future like the children in the photographs we showed at our protest – struggling to survive in barely habitable countries haunted by crop failures, malnutrition, deadly storms, floods and heatwaves.”

Insure Our Survival has grown out of a week of XR actions that took place in the City of London, and in towns and cities across the UK in February in partnership with Insure Our Futures, an alliance of movements across the world. 

Lucy Porter, of Insure Our Survival, said: “After our week of actions, Zurich Insurance announced they would no longer insure new oil and gas projects and infrastructure. Since then we have been approached by senior and junior staff from many insurers and underwriters supporting our aims.

“We intend to work with them to make insurance part of the climate solution, not part of the problem, and we invite other people in the industry to contact us and work with us.

“To those who continue to put their profits before a liveable planet we say: we will hold you accountable through an escalating campaign of nonviolent direct action across the country.”

For further information contact: press@extinctionrebellion.uk

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Climate action Extinction Rebellion insurance insure our future protest

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