MEMBERS of Christian Climate Action are celebrating after major insurance company, Probitas 1492, confirmed that it will never insure two major new fossil fuels projects – the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the proposed West Cumbria coal mine.

Members of Christian Climate Action (CCA) staged a five-hour, sit-in protest in the lobby of their London offices on 27 February, and also held prayerful vigil outside the building, to ask them to upgrade their policies in line with global climate goals.

Probitas, which previously insured the controversial Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia but exited after a determined campaign by climate activists, has never publicly ruled out insuring EACOP and West Cumbria until now.

Probitas’ Chief Executive Officer Ash Bathia, made a public pledge on Monday 4 March, saying: “I can confirm that Probitas does not currently provide any insurance support, and has no intention of providing future insurance support, to the Adani Coal Mine, the West Cumbrian Coalmine Project, or the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Underwriting these projects would not be in compliance with our ESG policy.”

The Rev Vanessa Elston, a CCA member who was part of a prayer vigil outside the offices, said: “The church has to highlight the true risk, suffering and unacceptable cost of financial decisions that back reckless greed. Our God-given ethical responsibility is to insure the future of a habitable and healthy earth as a first priority. We have to stand against the financial institutions that are putting that future at risk.”

Mark Francis, also a CCA member and part of the prayer vigil outside, said: “We want to congratulate Probitas on choosing not to insure the EACOP. This pipeline, if it goes ahead, will devastate local habitats and create around 380 million tonnes of climate-heating emissions. We urge all other insurers to take the same position and announce that they will not insure the fossil fuel industry’s plan to extract more dirty fuel than can ever be safely burnt.”

On the day of the action, Dr Michelle Barnes, an ex-Geologist, who was part of the sit-in inside the building, said: “I’m here today because EACOP is already having a devastating impact on communities in Uganda and Tanzania. Families have been displaced from their land and not properly compensated. If EACOP goes ahead more than 100,000 people across Uganda and Tanzania will lose the land they rely on for farming and animal raising. The pipeline would also pose significant risks to the Lake Victoria basin, which over 40 million people rely upon for drinking water and food production. I can’t stand by and let this happen. Insurance companies can choose not to fund this harm and instead contribute to a better, brighter future for all in which the extraction and burning of fossil fuels plays no part.”

The action was one of many during the Insure Our Future Global Week of Action which saw actions in London, other UK cities, and in 24 countries around the world.

There is widespread agreement among the world’s leading energy experts, climate scientists and the UN that new fossil fuel projects cannot go ahead if we are to limit dangerous levels of global overheating. In 2022, UN Secretary General António Guterres said “investing in new fossil fuels is moral and economic madness.”

* More about Insure Our Future here.

* Source: Christian Climate Action