Stink device set off at Lloyd’s of London

Stink device set off at Lloyd’s of London

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Climate change protesters continued their focus on Lloyd’s as a major insurer of the fossil fuel industry by setting off a stink bomb in front of the market’s London headquarters.

The activist group, Insurance Rebellion, is demanding the UK government and insurance industry stop supporting the UK’s development of the West Cumbria coal mine and all other fossil fuel projects. It says it is focusing on Lloyd’s because the market insures approximately 30% of global fossil fuel infrastructure.

“The stink devices, which emitted a very strong smell of sulphur, represent the stink of the sulphur-rich coal mine, as well as the fact that the plan to build a coal mine in a climate emergency stinks,” said a statement issued by Insurance Rebellion.

Lloyd’s has developed a phased approach for its exit from investments in and insurance of the fossil fuel industry, a plan it revealed in December 2020 in its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report. But Insurance Rebellion and other activist groups are demanding immediate action.

“Lloyd’s is committed to accelerating its transition towards a more sustainable insurance and reinsurance marketplace and has set out specific actions and commitments to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said a Lloyd’s spokesperson. “We are actively involved in constructive engagement on the issue of climate change and continue to explore the ways in which Lloyd’s can support a responsible transition.”

“Lloyd’s of London’s reputation is taking increasing damage,” said one of the protestors in a statement issued by Insurance Rebellion. “It markets itself as a green institution, with its Instagram feed showing lots of photos of solar panels, but all the while it’s insuring the most polluting projects on the planet. Tar sands, new coal mines, drilling for oil in the Arctic — you name it, Lloyd’s is enabling it.”

The protestor, who was not identified, also criticized the UK for “hypocrisy” in hosting the next UN climate change conference, COP26, in Scotland this coming November. “[O]ur government, financial centers and insurance industry are funding and enabling new fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow, and if they carry on, there really won’t be a tomorrow.”

The protest at Lloyd’s kicks off two weeks of actions across the UK, leading up to and during the G7 Summit, which will be held on June 11-13 in St Ives, Cornwall, in England. Insurance Rebellion will be joined in these protests by another activist climate group, Extinction Rebellion.

Both groups said they are targeting the summit as a way to get the major economies to take urgent action on climate change.

Launched in April 2021, Insurance Rebellion said it aims “to halt climate and ecological breakdown by ending the insurance of the fossil fuel projects and companies that cause it.”

Without insurance, the group says on its website, no fossil fuel infrastructure can be run or built.

“A hotspot of fossil fuel insurance is the global insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London, which insures around 30% of fossil fuel infrastructure worldwide. We demand they make good on their greenwashing claims that they are moving away from coal, oil, and gas,” the group’s website continues.

Top photograph: Insurance Rebellion’s anti-fossil-fuel protesters set off stink bomb at Lloyd’s of London. Photo credit: Insurance Rebellion.

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