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San Francisco first US city to push insurers to stop investing in fossil fuels

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World Coal,

On 25 July, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors became the first municipal body in the US to call upon insurance companies to stop insuring and investing in fossil fuels, citing the need to address climate change and the enormous toll climate pollution inflicts on public health and the economy.

The resolution, approved unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, urges the City of San Francisco to screen potential insurers for investments in coal and oilsands and to cut ties with any insurance company that continues to insure dirty energy projects. The city’s initial focus is on coal and oilsands oil as they are particularly damaging to the climate, economy and public health.

Insurance companies, particularly in Europe, are already responding to this threat. Since 2015, 17 large insurers have divested about UA$30 billion from coal companies. In addition, five of the largest insurers have stopped or limited insuring coal, and two of them have stopped insuring new oilsands projects. To date, no leading major US insurer has taken similar action. San Francisco joins Paris in pressuring insurance companies to break their ties with dirty energy; earlier this year, the Paris city council passed a similar declaration.

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