Photo: Fossil Free London

Protests took place yesterday at the London Energy Intelligence Forum – an annual fossil fuel shindig at the InterContinental Hotel, and Greta Thunberg was among dozens arrested while disrupting and protesting there. The Forum is a chance for fossil fuel CEOs (including Shell, Equinor and Total) and politicians to meet up, and it used to be known, perhaps more appropriately, as the Oil and Money Summit.

Photo: Fossil Free London – Andrea Domeniconi

This year, Fossil Free London, Extinction Rebellion, Money Rebellion, Coal Action Network organised protests at the venue, and today they have also just occupied and disrupted fossil fuel offices and insurance companies across London, highlighting the dangerous and destructive plans to mine for coal in West Cumbria, UK, and to build a heated crude oil pipeline across East Africa – EACOP. Other participants include XR Global, XR Scientists and StopEacopUK.

A publicised protest began at 11.30 this morning outside Standard Bank, in solidarity with climate protesters in Johannesburg who faced violent private security guards and police to break up a peaceful protest at the bank’s world headquarters there last month.

Photo: Jo Rigby

But at lunchtime many dozens of activists co-ordinated occupation actions at several other London locations, including Total Energies HQ in Canary Wharf. Total is one of the main partners in the EACOP project along with China National Offshore.

Total Energies blockade, Canary Wharf. Photo: Fossil Free London

After pressure from groups like Money Rebellion, many London insurers have issued statements that they will NOT insure EACOP, but today activists occupied the lobby of a building that houses Chaucer Syndicates along with several other insurers which are still considering insuring the EACOP project – police were called but have so far said it is a civil matter as it is not directly impeding business, and at time of writing the occupation looks set to carry on through the afternoon.

Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Another potential EACOP insurer, Talbot Underwriting had their building occupied by yet another group, and a large crowd assembled outside the Lloyd’s building.

Talbot occupation – Photo: Krisztian Elek

Along with speeches by UK activists including some from West Cumbria, there was also a powerful plea from Ugandan youth activist Patience Nabukalu, standing outside Standard Bank. She explained that Standard is Africa’s largest financier of fossil fuels and unlike several other banks, has not given any commitment to divest, and is still funding EACOP.

Speech by Patience – Ugandan youth activist at Standard Bank. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

Claude Fourcroy, a spokesperson for Money Rebellion said: “We are calling on all the banks and insurers behind the West Cumbria mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipelines to cut their ties now. Both of these projects will fuel climate breakdown. Lloyd’s of London and the insurers in its market sit at the centre of a web of climate wreckers in the City of London, alongside Barclays and HSBC.”

6 insurers have so far ruled out underwriting the West Cumbria mine (AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re, Talanx and Atrium Underwriters Ltd).

23 insurers and 27 banks have ruled out involvement with the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.

Outside the InterContinental Hotel tonight there will be an alternative greenwash awards ceremony, and more protests and a Festival Of Resistance are planned for tomorrow.
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