Home   News   Article

Highland Extinction Rebellion activists to add voices to anti-fossil fuel insurance march

By Philip Murray

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Activists will join a protest in Glasgow on Friday (March 1).
Activists will join a protest in Glasgow on Friday (March 1).

Climate change activists from the Highlands are set to head for Glasgow tomorrow to add their voices to a mass protest as part of the Global Week of Action.

The members of Extinction Rebellion Highlands & Islands and Moray (XR HIM) were inspired by the “Insure our Future” actions taking place in more than 30 countries, and decided to go down to Glasgow in support of the action taking place there on March 1.

"There are two main reasons why we feel the need to protest, firstly the UK government has no intention of reducing its fossil fuel use with its recent issue of a 100 new oil and gas exploration licences and the approval of the Rosebank gas field in the North Sea," said a spokesperson for the members.

"It has also recently approved a coal mine in Cumbria and is currently in the process of pushing its Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill through parliament. This legislation will place a duty on the UK to run annual applications for new offshore oil and gas licences.

"This all goes against what the UK government agreed to at the UN Climate Change Summit (COP28) in December 2023, whereby they agreed to phase out fossil fuels. Alok Sharma, the former UK government business secretary and president of the UN Climate Change Summit at COP26, has said the government’s oil and gas bill will not cut household energy costs or create jobs and instead will break the UK’s promise to phase out fossil fuels.

"Secondly, if the UK government are not going to adhere to their fossil fuel promises and even defy their own advisers the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is made up of hundreds of scientists, who have stated that no new oil and gas licences should be granted if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, then there is no alternative but to try and stop these projects going ahead ourselves."

The Insure our Future campaign is aiming to put pressure on insurance companies to rule out their involvement in fossil fuels and projects like the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the West Cumbria Mine.

"Insurance companies could protect our futures by refusing to insure these destructive projects," continued the spokesperson. "More than 20 major insurance companies have already ruled out insuring these projects but unfortunately some haven’t and instead are insuring large fossil fuel projects (carbon bombs) which are causing the climate destruction, while at the same time refusing to insure some householders and business that are likely to be affected by climate events which these insurance companies are helping cause.

"The climate crisis is no longer a distant threat but a pressing reality. As stewards of risk, insurance companies play a crucial role in shaping our future. It is imperative that we transition away from fossil fuels towards clean renewable energy to mitigate the catastrophic impacts of global overheating.

"That's why Extinction Rebellion Highlands & Islands and Moray are joining people globally in these protests – to call on insurance companies to introduce fossil fuel exclusion policies by ceasing to underwrite new and expanded fossil fuel projects."

Gary Jack from XR Highlands & Islands and Moray added: “Insurance is the achilles heel of the fossil fuel industry. Without insurance, major oil and gas projects like the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) or the West Cumbria coal mine cannot go ahead. As climate change worsens due to burning fossil fuels, insurance becomes a riskier business with increases in claims and costs and once Ecocide becomes an international crime many companies may even go bankrupt.

"Rising insurance costs were the main factor in activists halting the UK's Cambo and Canada’s Bay du Nord (Equinor) projects.

"We therefore need more insurance companies to rule out fossil fuel projects to insure our future, by reducing the risk climate catastrophe.”

Marguerite Doubleday from XR Highlands & Islands and Moray said,” Fossil fuel projects need three things; money, permits and insurance. Just 20 companies provide 70 per cent of the insurance for the fossil fuel industry despite it being a bad investment. In 2022 alone the insurance industry earned about $21b insuring fossil fuels but when you account for the $120bn in insured damages caused by extreme weather the industry had a net loss of $98bn.

"This is why they are trying to claw back their losses by raising home insurance and abandoning communities regularly hit by climate disasters.”

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More