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Insurers can halve emissions by 2030: UN official

The UN assistant secretary-general for climate action has three asks for the industry.

Insurers can cut emissions by half by 2030 and special advisor and assistant secretary-general for climate action Selwin Hart has three things he wants to ask the industry to do.

“You ask me what the insurance industry can do. And I have three concrete asks of you. First, follow through on your net-zero pledges with ambitious and credible actions now and during the course of this make-it or break-it decade. 2050 and 2030 are too far into the future. We need decisive action and interim net-zero targets by 2025. And deliver strong and credible transition plans to link your long-term pledges with immediate action,” he said, speaking at the UNEP’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative event.

“Second, what you invest in and where you invest matters. Stop investing in the coal industry, and stop underwriting new fossil fuel projects that contribute to the climate emergency.”

Hart added that as of November 2021, institutional investors still held over $1.2t in the coal industry. Additionally, close to 500 commercial banks channelled $1.2t to coal mining, trading, transport, conversion of coal to liquids, coal-fired power stations, and manufacturing of equipment for new coal plants. 

Hart said that insurers have powerful voices, wide influence and resources on a scale that can deliver change. 

“Sitting on the sidelines and hedging your bets is no longer a viable option. I urge you to put these assets to work and send the loudest possible message to government decision-makers - both publicly and privately — that they must step up their climate ambition and actions,” Hart said.

In 2021, Asia suffered $72b in weather and catastrophe-related losses.

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