Starting with QBE – insurance companies are being pushed to quit coal

By Ben Wilson

It takes no genius to work out that if we don’t do enough to combat the threat of global warming, the world and humanity are in serious trouble. Most people want real action on this. The block is those people representing interests that are profiting from polluting our planet and those few that they manage to fool.

By being far too dependent on fossil fuels, Australia has been a significant player in the creation of harmful greenhouse gases. It goes to show how fossil fuel companies have been able to exercise power over the Australian economy and politics. Governments have bent over backwards to please them.

,A rising political movement, based on ordinary people, has made it much more difficult for both fossil fuel companies and politicians to continue in the same way.

Highlights have been the campaigns against the Adani Carmichael coal mine and coal seam gas around Australia. The school students strikes have been a bit of a game changer. There is the growing campaign to save the Great Ocean Bight from the oil companies. These are only some of the examples that could be mentioned.

Action by ordinary Australians has been enough to alert and raise the level of public demand, to the extent that the banks had to eventually announce that they are pulling out of investment in coal. To continue would mean the loss of reputation and customers.

It involved an ongoing community campaign against the banks.

Fresh from this QBE victory, the insurance companies, which are also big investors in the industry, has been targeted.

Reacting to the pressure, QBE announced that it is going to end its involvement in new coal mines, power plants and transport networks from 1 July 2019. It means that they will not be covered by insurance. QBE will also sell of its direct shares and limit its indirect investments to 0.5 percent. This is as considerable shift, setting a precedent that makes it easier to target other insurance companies.

This is not enough on its own. Global temperature has already gone up by 1 degree Celsius and threatens to rise to 3 degrees and more, if the world does not act decisively enough. This could cause both mass extensions of species and threaten the survival of humanity. At the least, it could lead to economic collapse and social catastrophe, obliterating society as we know it.

The more people realise this, the more they will insist that something be done. If the politicians don’t, it’s up to citizens to take control and bring about the needed change.

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