The Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion have been fiercely opposed for years by people globally. Its environmental risks are monumental. The pipeline carries crude and refined oil through so-called Canada; from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, and the proposed expansion would carry an extra 590,000 barrels of tar sands oil a year, nearly tripling its existing capacity.
This expansion cuts across the Lands of multiple Indigenous nations. More than 120 First Nations and Tribes comprising the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion oppose the project. In the words of Erica Masuskapoe, a frontline Indigenous participant in direct actions at insurance offices, “the Trans Mountain expansion degrades Indigenous ancestral homelands and sacred waters and is a perpetuation of genocidal practices by the Canadian petro-state.” Yet despite the frontline communities, environmental groups, and individuals globally are standing up against the project, it is still set to proceed, in ignorance of the devastating potential consequences. This includes the existing pipeline’s track record, of 82 leaks including four major oil spills. While arrests are made to force TMX through, those with the power to stop the expansion in its tracks are not acting fast enough.
Last year, Canadian tar sands producers committed to achieve net-zero emissions in their operations by 2050, yet made no mention of winding down oil production. These two things are incompatible. We need companies to stop making greenwashing statements that do not translate to meaningful action, and we need insurers to commit to not underwriting the pipeline.
The tide is starting to turn. Insurance giants and experts are beginning to see the project for what it is: a risky proposition at best. Robyn Allan, the former CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, last year underscored the Trans Mountain as a “huge insurance” and “huge safety” risk which “any insurer would be worried about.”
Thanks to the efforts of those who have been fighting against the Trans Mountain Pipeline, insurers are starting to distance themselves from the pipeline. In 2021, Chubb became the 16th insurer to declare it would not back the controversial project. But the fight isn’t over; we need all insurance companies to rule out Trans Mountain. And we need them to do it fast.
“As one of the last major insurers without restrictions on coal insurance, AIG’s new commitments to reduce underwriting for coal, tar sands oil, and Arctic oil and gas are a major step forward for people and the planet,”
“It is a serious problem that John Neal has not been well enough briefed, or is just personally sceptical, about climate science and the findings of the International Energy Agency.”
Today, on the eve of COP26 climate talks Coal Action Network were joined by Youth Strikers from across the world and the Pacific Climate Warriors, to set up a climate justice memorial at Lloyd’s of London HQ. The climate memorial was created to remember communities on the front lines of climate breakdown, who are being directly impacted by harmful projects and climate impacts.