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HS2 Rebellion Activists Climb Insurer’s Building

At 9am this morning, as part of the ongoing Impossible Rebellion, two protesters have begun climbing the 7-storey offices of Marsh Insurance to protest against their influential role as the insurers of HS2’s subcontractors.

Over the past week, Extinction Rebellion, HS2 Rebellion, Animal Rebellion, and related progressive groups have launched a series of protests. These have targeted the financers, insurers and bankers who are funding and profiting from the climate, ecological and biodiversity crisis.

Today, protesters involved in the resistance against HS2 have occupied two buildings in the City of London belonging to Marsh JLT Specialty.

A spokesperson for HS2 Rebellion said, “We are here today to draw attention to Marsh’s contribution to the Climate Emergency. We demand that Marsh stop insuring HS2 subcontractors.

“We also call on the government to launch an inquiry into Lord Berkeley’s recent allegation that HS2 received Royal Assent only because ministers broke the Ministerial Code and misled parliament multiple times over HS2’s true cost.”

HS2 Rebellion campaigner Dr Clare Walters, 64, company director, councillor and grandparent claims she felt compelled to take this action: “I have campaigned for most of my life through legal means to raise awareness of the impending ecological collapse that is now upon us due to habitat loss, pesticides and climate change. Now that collapse is upon us I feel that I have nothing left to lose. So I am rebelling. Hoping against hope that those causing the most damage will finally listen and change their ways.”

The mother of two, who alongside Anthony Yale, is currently occupying a second Marsh office in the City of London continued “HS2 is the most destructive scheme in Europe. £230Billion of our taxes is being used to destroy our countryside, homes, businesses, 108 ancient woodlands and threaten the drinking water of 3.2million Londoners.

“Marsh pretends they are green, they even have the Carbon Trust Standard. But HS2 will never be carbon neutral, so either Marsh must hand their Carbon Trust Standard back, or they must stop insuring all the companies on the HS2 gravy train of death.”

The two campaigners have gone to great lengths, and heights, to ensure Marsh, and the world, hear their demands. They say they are prepared to occupy the roof “for as long as necessary“.

Tam McShay, 62, a carpenter from Lincoln, said, “HS2 is destroying our precious countryside. Companies like Marsh are profiting from that destruction. Without Marsh insuring it, HS2 would not be able to go ahead.

“We cannot continue to destroy nature. I have always been a fan of public transport, but that doesn’t mean that this destructive scheme should go ahead. HS2 is an ecocidal airport shuttle service, which will never be carbon neutral. It exists only to benefit the wealthy corporations who will be paid a fortune to build it and the rich individuals who will be able to afford to use it.”

Scot Brean, 47, a homeless musician pointed out, “Last month the IPCC report made clear that we have at most 4 years in which to turn around our carbon emissions. The government has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, which is far too late. HS2 will not be completed until the 2040s and by its own figures will never be carbon neutral in its 120-year lifespan!

In the meantime, HS2’s construction actively harms our ability to sequester carbon and reduce emissions. Its concrete alone will spew 14 Million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. The maths simply does not add up.”

Anthony Whitehouse, 56, considers the Climate and Ecological Emergency a form of genocide: “Communities around the world are calling for Ecocide to be made an international crime. If this happens, HS2 will be illegal.

“The death and destruction caused by climate change today are nothing compared to what’s coming next. This never-ending profiteering by companies such as Marsh JLT is no longer only ecocidal; it is genocidal.

I ask Marsh – do you really want to be responsible for that level of suffering and harm?”

Marsh promotes itself as a specialist construction broker for the HS2 project. While HS2 causes devastation to our environment, homes and businesses; Marsh sees this is just another opportunity to profit. As their website states, “Mega infrastructure projects like HS2 offer the construction industry an abundance of opportunities” and encourages companies “take full advantage.”

This exploitation of our natural environment for financial gain is completely unsustainable. As well as insuring HS2 and other ecocidal infrastructure projects, Marsh are also embedded in facilitating the fossil fuel industry by insuring oil, gas and petrochemical companies globally.

UK Parliament declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. More recently, Sir David Attenborough and the UN have reported the risk of societal collapse due to fossil fuel emissions.

For this reason, campaigners are demanding the UK’s government and financial institutions Stop Funding Fossil Fuels Immediately. Failure to do this, campaigners and their lawyers claim, would mean breaking international law (Note 1).

Note 1: The Paris Agreement comits the UK and all signatory governements to “keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”  [Search domain] We are currently on course to exceed 2 degrees C These were influential factors which led a Dutch court to recently find Shell guilty of failing to abide by the international law set out in the Paris Agreement, even though Shell was not a party to the agreement

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