Bristol campaigners demand Liberty Mutual stops insuring Tar Sands

Photo credit: Simon Holliday

On Friday 2nd October, campaigners for global climate justice delivered a letter to the Bristol office of Liberty Mutual Insurance, demanding they stop insuring oil extraction and pipelines from tar sands, one of the dirtiest and most expensive sources of fossil fuel.

The protest was one of a global day of action coordinated by Stop the Money Pipeline, a coalition of over 100 organisations working to end the financing of climate destruction.

The letter accuses these institutions of being culpable in the climate crisis, calls on them to align their business models with the Paris Agreement and to stop ensuring the destruction of the planet.

It goes on to say:

“The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report has made it clear that we must reduce our global greenhouse gas pollution by at least 45% by 2030 to curtail global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Liberty Mutual must make its contribution to reversing global warming now!

If you, and all of us, fail to do so, the projected impacts include, among others:

  • Hundreds of millions of people will be pushed into extreme poverty and experience food scarcity as crops fail.               
  • An additional 1.4 billion people will experience extreme, deadly heat waves at least once every five years.
  • Hurricanes and wildfires will be dramatically more frequent and severe.                       
  • Sea level rise will entirely submerge low-lying coastal regions, including several of the world’s most populous economic and cultural centres.”
Photo credit: Simon Holliday

The Aged Agitators, a group of Bristol rebels displayed a giant banner outside the offices, which read: Liberty Mutual insures Tar Funds Extractors and Pipelines. Other protests took place in London against Liberty Mutual, Barclays, Lloyds of London and Blackrock.

Mike Campbell, XR Bristol spokesperson, said:

“Our action in Bristol is just one of many simultaneous protests by the Stop the Money Pipeline campaign across the globe at the branches, offices, and headquarters of financial institutions that are involved in funding tar sands pipelines.

“Along with fighting the pipelines on the ground, indigenous leaders and their allies have been going after the financial institutions that are funding the projects.

“In Bristol, we want to show solidarity with their campaign which calls on Liberty Mutual to start taking a lead in ensuring we all have a future by ceasing to fund and insure tar sands pipelines.”

Liberty Mutual is a key player in the tar sands. The insurance company is insuring the Trans Mountain pipeline in Canada as well as providing key financial backing for the Keystone XL pipeline: Liberty Mutual provided a $15.6 million bond to TC Energy, the company behind the project, to cover any damages to public infrastructure in South Dakota that could result from constructing the pipeline.

Liberty Mutual currently has no policies in place to steer clear of projects that have not secured the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities affected by the damaging impact of tar sands.  

Cameron Joshi, spokesperson for Global Justice Rebellion, said,

“By going after multi-billion pound institutions like Liberty Mutual, Barclays, Lloyds of London and Blackrock we’re targeting the sources of the problem.

“This action is calling on the financial sector to start taking a lead in ensuring we all have a future by ceasing to fund and insure tar sands pipelines.

“These organisations are not only complicit in the climate crisis, but are culpable.”

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