Climate change activists set to step up pressure on insurers to stop the East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Climate change activists set to step up pressure on insurers to stop the East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Back as the Covid-19 pandemic struck and we were all being ordered to stay at home, a lawyer spoke up to warn the insurance industry that activists would be using the time to mobilise and plan their action, adding that the insurance industry would surely be in their line of sight.

His words have become prophetic and most recently African projects have been attracting international attention. Now the activists look set to step up their action once more, targeting Lloyd’s among others in their bid to influence commercial decisions about whether or not insurers should offer cover on major infrastructure projects.

In their latest email, the activists say: “French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation plan to build the longest heated oil pipeline in the world across Tanzania and Uganda – displacing communities, endangering wildlife and tipping the world closer to full-blown climate catastrophe.

“Once finished, the toxic East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) will stretch for almost 1,445km – longer than the width of entire countries including Germany, France, Spain, Egypt. The pipeline will disturb sensitive ecosystems including the Lake Victoria basin, a vital water supply supporting 40 million people and threatens to destroy habitats for already-vulnerable species, including the Eastern Chimpanzee and the African Elephant. Its ongoing construction has already displaced thousands of people in villages in Uganda.”

The CoalAction Network believes: “There is some good news. Total and CNOOC can’t build the pipeline alone – they need support from investors, banks and insurance firms around the world. We need international solidarity to win. It’s our job to highlight the risks and make sure EACOP is starved of the corporate and political support it needs to move forward.

“So far, 20 banks and eight insurers have refused to support this devastating pipeline. We are ramping up the pressure on banks and insurance companies not to support the project, such as Standard Chartered and Lloyd’s of London in the UK.”

It seems that the activists are stepping up their pressure once again. This may seem a far-off problem, but it is one that threatens to come much closer to home for African insurers and worth keeping under review.


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