Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Climate Change: A slow victory over coal

The climate movement has a lot of strands, with different philosophies of action and targets for change. Some target governments, some push for individual change. Some use lobbying, others use protest at varying levels of disruption. One strand has focused on targeting the money that allows fossil fuels to be emitted, hoping to force decarbonisation by cutting it off. And it seems to be bearing some fruit:

New coal power projects are becoming “effectively uninsurable” outside China because so many insurance companies have ruled out support for them, a report has found.

Recent commitments to stop underwriting coal by prominent US insurers AIG and Travelers have brought the number of coal insurance exit policies to 41, according to the latest industry scorecard by the climate campaign Insure Our Future.

The scorecard ranks the top global fossil fuel insurers on the quality of their fossil fuel exclusion policies. It shows that 62% of the reinsurance market and 39% of the primary insurance market are now covered by coal exclusions, with Allianz, Axa and Axis Capital ranking top for the robustness and breadth of their policies.

Many of the remaining insurers without coal exclusions are not active in the fossil fuel sector.

And it makes sense: coal projects increase costs to insurance companies by creating climate chaos. Dumping them (and so making them impossible) is an excellent way to limit those costs. And hopefully they'll figure that out about gas and oil too.

But of course, the UK’s Lloyd’s of London - a club of rich people who insured the slave trade - is the big laggard. Which I guess makes them a prime target for disruption by the other parts of the climate movement.