Climate activists take on insurance companies over African pipeline

Campaigners rallied in front of Manchester Central Convention Complex this morning, calling on insurance companies to swear off their involvement with a huge-scale oil pipeline construction in East Africa. 

Activists from Defund Climate Chaos confronted the suited and booted visitors to the BIBA insurance company conference taking place inside the building.

The 1,400km long pipeline is planned to run from the north of Uganda to Port Tonga in Tanzania, displacing large numbers of people and generating up to 34 million tons of carbon emissions, according to the climate group. 

Activist Clara Paillard said: “We are targeting the financial institutions that are enabling these terrible carbon bombs to go ahead. The pipeline can’t go ahead without insurance or funding.

“This is about social consciousness. It’s about wanting a better world. We want to do something about climate change and it’s time that the people in power, those financial institutions, listen to us.”

The protest was a part of a long-term strategy to support activists from Uganda and Tanzania. 

Activists claim the pipeline could displace up to 100,000 people and threaten Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria.

More than 40 million people depend on the lake for water.

Defund Climate Chaos also claim that the pipeline would disturb protected wildlife habitats like the Bugoma Forest.

Paillard said: “I’ve met with some of the Ugandan and Tanzanian campaigners who have visited the global north, asking people like us who are privileged to have the right to protest to speak up. “We are campaigning against the pipeline and trying to amplify their voices.”

22 insurers have so far committed to not insuring the pipeline project thanks to the climate group’s efforts.

But they say nine major companies, including Lloyds of London, Chaucer, and Brit, have not yet made the commitment.

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