Liberty Mutual is facing calls to rule out providing support for coal expansion anywhere in the world after indicating it will not move forward with its proposed Baralaba South coal mine in Australia following sustained activist pressure.
The carrier – the sole owner of Mount Ramsay Coal Company, which was looking to build the proposed mine – did not file the necessary Environmental Impact Statement by the 30 April deadline which would have allowed the project to proceed.
Local community groups had battled to block the plans for close to a decade, arguing that the mine would have catastrophic impacts on the rights of the Woorabinda Aboriginal community, local agricultural land and ecosystems, including nearby emu habitats, as well as the global climate.
Reports had suggested Liberty could be delisted from the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment if it pushed ahead with its plans for the mine.
“Liberty Mutual should now withdraw its application entirely, publicly state that it is cancelling the project, and rule out support for coal expansion anywhere in the world,” said Paul Stephenson, a member of the Baralaba-based Save the Dawson community group.
Pressure on carriers not to insure polluting fossil fuels has continued to gather pace over the past month, with activists dumping fake coal outside Lloyd’s on 23 April (pictured) to protest against the continued insurance of polluting projects such as tar sands and coal mines, including the Adani Carmichael coal mega-mine in Australia.
On 27 April, Arch Capital added its name to the list of more than 30 carriers which have ruled out providing support for the Adani Carmichael mine.
Liberty is among those to have confirmed it won’t provide support, alongside the likes of MS Amlin, Allianz, Munich Re, QBE, Scor and Travelers.
The Insure our Future network of non-governmental organisations stepped up its pressure on Lloyd’s during April, calling on the market to take several steps during 2021 including divestment from all fossil fuels, no new underwriting or renewals of coal, tar sands and Arctic energy projects, no new insurance for oil and gas exploration or production and to start on the phasing out of existing oil and gas insurance in line with a 1.5ºC pathway.