Climate activists pressure insurers to divest from fossil fuels, embrace renewables

Climate activists pressure insurers to divest from fossil fuels, embrace renewables
Climate activists protest against fossil fuel

During a protest in Kampala on Monday, Nicholas Omonuk, founder of nonprofit organisation End Fossil Occupy Uganda, emphasised the pivotal role insurance companies play in perpetuating the fossil fuel industry.

KAMPALA | Ugandan climate activists have joined global climate justice groups in a unified effort to hold insurance companies accountable for their alleged complicity in exacerbating the climate crisis.

During a protest in Kampala on Monday, Nicholas Omonuk, founder of nonprofit organisation End Fossil Occupy Uganda, emphasised the pivotal role insurance companies play in perpetuating the fossil fuel industry.

"Without insurance, fossil fuel projects cannot be built or operated. Insurance companies have the power to expedite the shift to renewable energy and support a just and equitable transition,” he said.

The urgency of this call to action is underscored by the accelerating pace of the climate crisis, which disproportionately impacts vulnerable communities, particularly in the Global South.

Vanessa Nakate joined the protest against fossil fuel in Kampala.

Omonuk said insurance companies enable fossil fuel projects by providing financial security to companies like Shell, TotalEnergy, and ExxonMobil, thereby facilitating their operations amid escalating environmental degradation.

He urged these insurance companies to begin funding a just and equitable transition, emphasising that the biggest threat is the fossil fuel industry's contribution to the climate crisis.

“We are striving to halt these companies from extracting more resources. Instead of insuring our destruction, they need to insure our future and facilitate a just equitable transition for all of us,” he said.

Omonuk called on the government to divest from the fossil fuel industry and invest in renewable technology.

For decades, insurers remained in the shadows as the fossil fuel industry bore the brunt of blame for climate change. Now, many activists demand that insurance companies become key players in the fight against climate change.

Activists argue that without insurance companies’ underwriting support, fossil fuel projects cannot expand and operate since nobody will provide loans and investments to uninsured risks.

Renowned climate activist Vanessa Nakate said fossil fuels account for about 75 percent  of global greenhouse gas emissions, causing changes in weather patterns and climate disasters worldwide.

“We believe the era of fossil fuels is over. We need a new era that prioritizes the protection of people and the planet, ensuring a sustainable legacy for future generations,” Nakate said.

She highlighted scaling up renewable energies as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, urging banks, insurance companies, and corporations to prioritize the wellbeing of people and the planet.

Derrick Otim, another climate activist, noted that if insurance companies fail to meet their demands, they will continue engaging stakeholders and policymakers until this issue is fully addressed to save both people and the planet.

“We need our voices as climate activists to be heard. We require government and stakeholder support on this matter. We need their attention,” Otim said.

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