Australian school striker in New York visits Adani insurer AIG

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Photo:Elana Sulakshana

By SAT News Desk

September 20, 2019, New York City. On the day of the Global Climate Strike, 15-year-old Harriet O’Shea Carre, one of three students who instigated the Australian school strike movement, visited AIG’s headquarters in New York City and called on the company to stop insuring the Adani Carmichael coal mine.

Harriet, who helped start the school strike movement in her home in Castlemaine, Victoria, is in New York to take part in the first-ever United Nations Youth Climate Summit taking place today, Saturday, September 21.

The news broke earlier this week that AIG is currently providing coverage for the mine, and the contract is up for renewal at the end of this month.

The Adani mine has been the object of years-long controversy in Australia and around the world, given the major environmental, climate, and social risks of the massive coal project. One of the key demands of the School Strike 4 Climate movement in Australia is “no new coal, oil and gas projects, including the Adani mine.”

When Harriet learned that AIG was insuring the Adani mine, she sent a letter requesting a meeting with AIG CEO Brian Duperreault to discuss the project.

She wrote, “I understand that as a child, my opinion may not matter to you a whole awful lot, so I want you to know that even though I am only small, I represent thousands of other people, and I hope that you can think of my, and all the other youths, future before insuring the Adani mine.”

AIG rejected a meeting request, so Harriet, fellow school strikers, and members of the Insure Our Future campaign decided to pay AIG a visit and make the message from Australia heard loud and clear. Upon entering the office lobby the group was surrounded by security and told to leave.

“Alongside hundreds of thousands of young people across Australia, I have been raising my voice and taking to the streets to stop the construction of Adani’s massive coal mine,” said Harriet O’Shea Carre. “As children, we are going to be living in this hot world far longer than the adults who are making these decisions for us, like the executives at AIG, and we know that our future cannot be one that is powered by coal and other fossil fuels.”

AIG has become the latest target of the Stop Adani campaign. A petition calling on AIG to rule out Adani has gathered 135,790 signatures, and hundreds of people visited AIG offices across Australia last month. The pressure is also mounting on the All Blacks rugby team to drop AIG as a sponsor if the insurer renews the contract for the mine.

“Without insurance coverage, Adani cannot build this climate-wrecking mine, and fourteen major insurance companies have already ruled out the project. As millions of people around the world march in the streets demanding climate action today, AIG has a chance to be on the right side of history and drop the contract” said Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network, a member of the Insure Our Future campaign.

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