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UN says US concerns have led to insurers quitting climate alliance


(Reuters) — The United Nations Environment Program on Wednesday said “recent discussions within the United States” had been behind four insurance firms quitting a UN-convened alliance aimed at reducing carbon emissions in recent months.

Republican federal and state lawmakers, governors, and attorneys general have been pushing back on growing efforts by investors and executives to include environmental, social and governance factors in their business decision-making.

Reinsurer Swiss Re on Monday joined Munich Re, Zurich Insurance and Hannover Re in exiting the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance amid growing pressure in the U.S., where some Republican politicians say these alliances could be breaking antitrust rules.

All four of the insurers to leave the group, part of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero set up by U.N. climate envoy Mark Carney, have significant U.S. businesses, although only one — Munich Re — linked its decision to antitrust concerns.

“In light of the recent discussions within the United States, members of the United Nations-convened Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, particularly those with significant US business and exposure, have made the individual and unilateral decision to either remain or withdraw from the NZIA,” UNEP said.

“Regardless of the situation, UNEP reaffirms its conviction ever since it initiated, convened, and launched the NZIA that in order to successfully tackle the climate emergency, there is a fundamental and urgent need for collaboration, not just individual action.”