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Tens of thousands call on Liberty Mutual to rule out insuring Carmichael coal mine

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Coal,

Tens of thousands of people around the globe have signed a petition calling on Liberty Mutual to rule out insuring Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Australia. Boston-area signatories and the Insure Our Future campaign brought this demand to Liberty Mutual’s HQ in Back Bay on Friday morning.

If built, the Adani mine would be one of the world’s largest coal mines. In addition to being a massive source of carbon emissions, the Carmichael mine would threaten the rights of Indigenous people and the Great Barrier Reef’s diverse ecosystems.

Under pressure from the global Unfriend Coal campaign, 15 of the largest global insurers in Europe, Australia, and the US have already pledged not to provide insurance for the controversial coal project. Boston-based Liberty Mutual has so far refused to say whether or not it will insure the mine.

Katherine Tu, an Australian-based campaigner at SumOfUs, said: “Adani Group’s proposed Carmichael coal mine is arguably the most environmentally and socially contentious project in Australia's history. By not ruling out this project, Liberty Mutual is making clear that it values profit over the future of our climate, Indigenous land rights, and the unique environment of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Adani Group has resorted to self-financing the US$1.5 billion project, because more than 37 global banks have publicly rejected supporting the mine. However, Adaini must secure insurance before obtaining key government permits and starting construction, and the company cannot self-insure this massive project.

The Carmichael coal mine would emit up to 4.6 billion t of CO2 over its lifetime, equivalent to more than eight years of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. To meet the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, no new coal mines can be built anywhere in the world, according to research from Carbon Tracker.

Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network, said: “Liberty Mutual knows that climate change is a major cause of recent fire and flood disasters, but the company continues to insure coal projects like Adani. Europe’s biggest insurers are responding to the climate crisis by rapidly phasing out their support of coal, and Liberty Mutual must stop its willful ignorance of its role in the crisis and follow suit.”

Liberty Mutual is one of the major property and casualty insurers for the energy sector in North America and around the globe. The company also has more than US$9 billion invested in fossil fuels, according to the California Department of Insurance.

Liberty Mutual has not responded with even a cursory acknowledgement to more than ten requests since July 2018 to discuss the company’s support for the fossil fuel industry. Meanwhile, 15 of the largest global insurers have adopted policies restricting coal underwriting and investment, including AXA, Allianz, Swiss Re, and more recently QBE and Hannover Re.

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Australia coal news