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Major Insurance Companies Fan the Flames of Climate Change
World Wide Protests Say Fossil Fuels Gotta Go
It’s amazing to realize just how interconnected things are in today’s world.
Protests are occurring worldwide, pointing out that our planet is in big trouble and demanding an end to an economy dependent on fossil fuels. Natural disasters are occurring at a record pace. Legislation aimed at resolving a crisis in homeowners insurance failed to pass in Sacramento And insurance companies are financing fossil fuel industries.
The protesters are right. We’re well on our way to becoming uninhabitable. A study published in the journal Science Advances, found that the planet has transgressed 6 out of 9 boundaries for processes deemed critical for maintaining the stability and resilience of the Earth system as a whole.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we’ve just experienced the planet’s warmest August on record, and the Northern Hemisphere experienced its hottest meteorological summer ever.
Large numbers of young people, concerned about the future livability of the planet, are mobilizing in over 800 locations world-wide in the run up to the U.N. Climate Ambition Summit in New York on Sept. 20. The biggest protest will be in New York this weekend.
The Los Angeles Times editorial board sees the situation correctly:
Some will say that activists’ demands are unreasonable or that their focus on eliminating the fossil fuels causing climate change is naive. The world economy, after all, is still overwhelmingly powered by oil, gas and other fossil fuels and it may be impossible to replace 100% of them with pollution-free alternatives, at least in the near term.
But this push for the end of the era of fossil fuels is a principled stand that has helped this important grassroots movement focus and gain traction recently. Youth climate activists scored a landmark victory last month in Montana, winning a case in which the judge found there is a “fundamental constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment” and climate.
When we see people marching through the streets of Manhattan, we should all listen and join them in demanding a world without fossil fuels.
In California alone, there are over two dozen areas with confirmed protests. In the San Diego area, there are walkouts and rallies, organized by eco-clubs and student leaders at more than a dozen high school and college campuses, supported by SanDiego350.
So far this year (and it ain’t over yet), the U.S. has seen more climate disasters costing over $1 billion than ever before. The nation has already seen a record-breaking 23 weather disasters costing more than $1 billion in 2023, with a total cost of $57.6 billion so far.
Meanwhile, if you’re building a new home in vast swatches of the Golden State, you’re going to have a hard time finding somebody willing to insure it. No insurance = no mortgage, so lots of cash will be needed to build. Climate change is more than an existential threat; it’s expensive.
Companies covering more than half of California’s $12 billion home insurance market have put the brakes on new policies. Some homeowners are seeing their policies canceled.
State Farm, Allstate and USAA have all but stopped taking on new customers; Farmers, Nationwide and Travelers raised the bar to qualify for new policies significantly. The industry is blaming these restrictions on state regulators, who they say won’t let them charge enough to cover risks and costs.
The California Legislature adjourned on September 14 without passing legislation aimed at making it easier to charge higher prices for homeowners insurance, with the hope of enticing carriers to reopen for new business. Getting to the finish line on a deal meant voting for consumers to get hit with much higher premiums, and there weren’t enough legislators willing to put their political future on the line for that sort of law.
There remains the possibility that the executive branch, via Gov. Newsom or Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, will take actions leading to regulatory reform.
One thing desired by the insurance industry is the use of forward-looking models in setting rates, rather than actual past claims paid. This will be a terrific deal for the insurance company, especially since the investments they’re already making should give them insight into risks they might encounter.
The good people behind the HEATED newsletter have dug up remarkable data on the bets the companies seeing its products as risky are making.
In 2019 alone, the U.S. insurance industry invested $582 billion in oil, gas, coal, utilities, and other fossil fuel-related activities, according to a S&P Global report. That’s a slight increase from the $519 billion fossil-fuel investments in 2018.
The combined trillion comes from customer payments, because insurance companies don’t just sit on our premiums—they reinvest them to turn a profit.
And that staggering sum isn’t the only way insurance companies profit from the fossil fuel industry. They also underwrite fossil fuel projects, making it possible for them to exist in the first place. Coal mines, oil drilling, gas fields, tar sands, and more all need insurance coverage before investors and banks will consider financing their projects.
State Farm, which asked for a 28% rate increase prior to closing the window on new homeowners policies, invested $30 billion in coal, oil, gas, and other fossil fuel projects in 2019. And they just happen to share lobbyists with dirty energy companies like ExxonMobil.
While State Farm makes noises about being a good neighbor via a meaningless pledge to reduce 50% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 it apparently hasn’t occurred to them just how much of the underlying problems they are financing.
Here’s a crazy idea. Perhaps any rates deal for homeowners could involve divesting/not providing insurance to the industries that are part of the rising risks.
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Friday’s Parade of Dirtbags
Click the link if you want details, including a picture taken in San Diego. Noem was considered a leading candidate for Vice President to be on Trump’s 2024. She’s made the statement about marriage being between a man and a woman enough times to qualify as part of the GOP’s Church Lady faction.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Donald Trump just FIRED advisor Corey Lewandowski and REJECTED the endorsement he received from Kristi Noem last week, following the reports that the two have been having a years-long affair.
Congress member Lauren Boebert was asked to leave a stage production of BeetleJuice, following complaints that she was vaping, making video of the show, and being disruptive.
She pulled the “do you know who I am?” card as she was being escorted out the door, and left a one finger salute as she wished the ushers well.
Her spokesperson later denied the vaping accusation. The pregnant lady sitting behind the Congresswoman wasn’t amused. And, oh Lordy, there are tapes…
Alex Jones spent $93,000 in July, but hasn’t paid Sandy Hook families Via the Washington Post
Infowars founder Alex Jones spent more than $93,000 in July at a time when families of victims of the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary School have yet to receive a dime of the nearly $1.5 billion he owes them, court records show.
The right-wing conspiracy theorist spent $93,180 for the month, including thousands of dollars toward payments to his wife, housekeeping, meals and entertainment, according to an Aug. 29 court filing from lawyers of the families obtained by The Washington Post. The family’s lawyers say Jones’s personal spending in May and June also reflected that he has not taken his legal fees into consideration, as he spent $63,925 and $85,114, respectively. In total, Jones’s personal spending between May and July was $242,219.
Jones, who has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion to the families after years of saying the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., was a hoax, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas last December. He continues to tell his Infowars audience that he has money problems, urging them to buy his products to support his cause. Jones’s personal net worth is around $14 million, according to financial documents filed by Jones and his bankruptcy lawyers.
Today’s lead image via SanDiego350 ~ 2022 Downtown San Diego protest