The Times of Nigeria
Tue Sep, 01 2009
By Shola Oyeyipo
Just as there are continued agitations from the Niger Delta region over the negative effects of oil exploration in the region, fresh evidence has revealed that oil giant, Shell is having colossal contribution to global climate change vis-à-vis the deteriorating environment in oil producing parts of Nigeria. And that it is conscious of its actions
Friends of the Earth, Oil Change International and PLATFORM released a new research showing that despite attempts by Shells former CEO, Jeroen van der Veer, to portray a green image, the company has opted for a stark contradiction with the need to reduce CO2 emissions.
According to the revelation, Shell’s heavy investments in the most carbon-emitting energy sources, such as tar sands, liquefiednatural gas and crude oil from Nigeria – which is associated with huge levels of gas flaring – make it the dirtiest of all major oil companies with regard to CO2 emissions.
The report titled Shells Big Dirty Secret Insight into the worlds most carbon intensive oil company and the legacy of CEO Jeroen van der Veer, also reveals new internal documents that show that Shell knew of the environmental dangers of gas flaring in Nigeria more than fifteen years ago, but chose not to stop flaring purely for financial reasons.
It is against this background that the three campaign groups call on the EU and the US to stop listening to Shell in discussions on how to tackle climate change, claiming that Van der Veer personally led lobby efforts in Brussels against improvements to the EUsEmission Trading System, and threatened to move refineries out of Europe if Shell and other oil companies were made to pay for their emissions.
Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth International said: Shell attempts to paint itself as a sustainable company when in reality it is the dirtiest oil producer of all. It continues to make huge profits but still argues that it cannot afford to pay for effective CO2 reduction measures. The EU should no longer listen to Shell in talks about tackling climate change.
It would be recalled that since 1996 Shell has promised to stop gas flaring in Nigeria the biggest contributor to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa. But yet, the company has repeatedly broken its promises and rejected statements by the Nigerian governmentthat flaring should be stopped.
Similarly Shell refuses to implement the 2011 deadline imposed by the Nigerian government for phasing out gas flaring and is now speaking about a 2013 phase out.
Steve Kretzmann of Oil Change International maintained that, Shell could stop flaring gas in Nigeria for only 10 per cent of last years profit for the company. The companys new head, Peter Voser, has the power to stop gas flaring, spare Nigerians from inhaling deadly toxins, and help to curb climate change in one stroke. The question is: will he?
‘Shell’s Big Dirty Secret’, is a product of a global backlash against the energy giants abuses of human rights and the environment. On June 8, Shell was forced to pay $15.5 million to settle an embarrassing lawsuit in the US for human rights abusesin Nigeria.
The company is also facing legal action in The Hague concerning repeated oil spills, which have damaged the livelihoods of Nigerian fisher folk and farmers in Niger Delta.