Activists call on insurance firms to stop coverage of Trans Mountain pipeline

VANCOUVER — A coalition of environmental and Indigenous groups is calling on insurance companies to drop or refuse to provide coverage of the Trans Mountain pipeline, although they concede its lead liability insurer is planning to continue coverage.The coalition of 32 groups says in a news release if it can convince insurers to bow out of covering the pipeline and its recently approved expansion project beyond an Aug. 31 renewal date, Ottawa will be forced to self-insure, which will put public dollars at risk.In a copy of a letter sent to 27 insurers, the activists ask them to avoid the “reputational and financial risk” of supporting the pipeline from Edmonton to the West Coast in view of the institutions’ commitments to support the Paris climate change agreement and Indigenous rights.Only 12 of the companies responded to the letter, the coalition says, with most refusing to discuss their dealings with specific clients.The coalition says that Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance Group, however, has indicated it plans to continue to insure the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, a position the group says betrays its climate change and Indigenous rights commitments.It provided a copy of a letter it says is from the company’s CEO noting that while the company’s policy is to restrict insuring oilsands assets, its position is to talk to the Trans Mountain owner, the federal government, to sort out its climate change goals and clarify whether the pipeline is actually “dedicated” to oilsands.“It’s clear Zurich needs to commit to not insure the pipeline expansion,” said Tzeporah Berman, international program director at, in the release.“We are encouraged by Zurich’s recent policy, and we are calling on other insurance companies to stop insuring the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.”The Canadian Press read more

Ahead of sustainability summit Global Goals will light up UN Secretariat building

“Starting at 7:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., we expect to illuminate the building with [images] relating to the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as images related to the 70th anniversary of the United Nations,” Under-Secretary-General for Public Information Cristina Gallach told reporters at a press conference, noting that filmmaker Richard Curtis produced the project. The projections were developed in collaboration with the Global Goals campaign and 59 Productions. The filmed footage will be edited into a four-minute film to be shown at the Global Citizen Festival on 26 September and broadcast around the world as part of international coverage of the event. The Global Goals campaign – funded by Mr. Curtis and launched at UN Headquarters earlier this month – aims to reach 7 billion people in seven days with news of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.“We think it’s going to be a moment to raise awareness, so [its] the right thing to do just a few days before the summit,” she added.More than 150 world leaders are expected at UN Headquarters to formally adopt at a three-day summit that begins Friday 25 September, an ambitious new sustainable development agenda. It will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years.Agreed by the 193 Member States of the UN, the new framework, Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, consists of a Declaration, 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, a section on means of implementation and renewed global partnership, and a framework for review and follow-up.Also speaking at the press conference was Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, who described the agreement as “really meaningful.”“It’s universal so it applies to everyone,” she explained. “We will no longer have a North-South conversation about what the North is doing for the South, but what we are doing for each other. Clearly anything that happens anywhere in this world has that fallout in many other places – from the global financial crisis to conflict and migration, we feel it everywhere – to natural disasters and climate change.”The agenda builds on the successful outcome of the Conference on Financing for Development that recently concluded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is expected to positively affect the negotiations on a new meaningful and universal climate agreement in Paris this December.Its adoption on Friday will be preceded by an address to the General Assembly by Pope Francis. Shortly after he departs, a special video will be projected in the Hall.Performances are also expected by international pop stars and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Shakira and Angélique Kidjo. Malala Yousafzai will then share a message alongside 193 young people representatives from all UN Member States. The summit will then officially open.Once the goals are adopted, Ms. Gallach said, every goal will be read out by a group of different people – female presidents, young children, celebrities and other individuals. read more