How insurance giants might accomplish what generations of climate activists have not.

The campaign to stop the proliferation of coal plants may come down to a bit of financial engineering: pulling the plug on insurance coverage,  the Washington Post reports.

More than 30 insurance companies have announced restrictions on underwriting coal projects, making it difficult for major coal operators to line up bank financing and investment for mines, transportation and power plants. Without insurance, those investments could seen too risky.

Thomas Buberl, chief executive of Axa, the giant French underwriting firm, is leading a coalition of eight major insurers called the Net Zero Insurance Alliance. The goal, he said in an interview, is to have “all the insurers applying a methodology to only underwrite companies directed toward climate transition and not to the dark ages of burning coal.”

If that sounds like corporate activism, it’s because many corporate executives are trying to use their financial clout to achieve what other activists have had trouble achieving through regulation or negotiation at events such as next week’s climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. And many activists who have had trouble rallying governments are looking to the private sector for reinforcements.

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