Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image Washinging Post Cherry-Picks Speech to Make Shell President Look Like a Global Warmingist

Posted by Noel Sheppard on November 26, 2006 – 22:32.

On Saturday, the Washington Post effectively demonstrated how the press cherry-pick snippets of speeches that political and business leaders give in order to completely alter their intent (hat tip to NB member crshedd). In an article entitled “Energy Firms Come to Terms With Climate Change,” authors Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin took a few quotes — one of them actually errant — out of a 3,610-word speech that Shell Oil President John Hofmeister gave about a month ago to make it look like he’s totally bought into the myth of global warming (emphasis mine throughout):

While the political debate over global warming continues, top executives at many of the nation’s largest energy companies have accepted the scientific consensus about climate change and see federal regulation to cut greenhouse gas emissions as inevitable. [..]

“We have to deal with greenhouse gases,” John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., said in a recent speech at the National Press Club. “From Shell’s point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, ‘Let’s debate the science’?”

Now, take a look at what he actually said on this issue (emphasis mine):

Secondly, it’s Shell’s belief that we have to deal with greenhouse gases. From a Shell point of view, the debate’s over. When 90-plus percent of the world’s leading figures believe that greenhouse gases have impacted the climate of the Earth, who is Shell to say to say, let’s debate the science?  

It appears the authors weren’t satisfied with “90-plus percent,” and felt the need to massage this a tad for greater impact. Regardless, Hofmeister continued:

We’re not going to debate the science. When the policymakers decide it’s a problem, it’s a problem. And so there are good ideas coming from the White House that will address this, but we believe there needs to be more.  

Shell was involved in discussing AB32 in California. At the end of the day, we didn’t support the bill because of its ambiguity, but we want to be involved in the debate, we want to be involved in the rule writing that will now occur in California.

But, ladies and gentlemen, we can’t have 50 state policies on greenhouse gas emissions. We believe, Shell believes, we need a national approach to greenhouse gas management and how that would work across our industries, not only the gas and oil industry.

Does that sound like a ringing endorsement for global warming, or a little politicking in front of journalists? After all, this represented a whopping five percent of his address. Want to know what else he discussed? Here are some snippets WaPo ignored: “Bringing conventional oil and gas means continuing to exploit the Gulf of Mexico, continuing to develop the resources that are there, prolific as they are, but needing the access to go do it.” If you thought that was a plea for legislative assistance, you’d be right:

We’re hopeful that the Congress, when it returns, will pass legislation that would open up additional outer continental shelf to try to get access to even more of the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, we’d like to see outer continental shelf developed in other parts of the nation, and particularly off the coasts of Alaska, and even off the east coasts, if those are one day to be developed.

No global warming there. How about this:

Well, we can start by developing the oil shale of Colorado. The estimates are that more than a trillion barrels of oil and gas sit within the basin in Colorado, which was once a sea. You may not know that. That was once a sea. And so there are a trillion barrels of immature oil and gas in rock, called shale, that can be developed.

Hmmm. Oil shale in Colorado. Going to take some legislation, isn’t it?

Get the point? Well, there was a lot more of this, and the curious should read the entire speech. However, the point is that this was not a global warming address. This was a call for greater oil exploration and other issues all mostly cash-flow positive for Shell, with a little politicking thrown in to appease the journalists present and grease the legislative wheels. A month later, a couple of snippets became part of a front-page story at the Post putting Shell and other oil companies in a positive light.

As such, it appears Hofmeister understands the media’s bias, and knows exactly how to manipulate it for his company’s best interest. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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