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Daily Telegraph: Royal Dutch Shell warns against emissions targets

By Josephine Moulds
Last Updated: 1:32am GMT 04/01/2008

Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Jeroen Van der Veer has warned against setting higher targets for emissions reductions.

The chief executive of Europe’s largest oil company said the European Union’s target of a 20pc reduction in emissions between 1990 and 2020 could be achieved.

“If research and technology co-operate on development, you should be able to realise such an evolutionary step in 10 to 20 years.”

But Mr Van der Veer said raising the target to 30pc or 40pc – as proposed by Germany and the Netherlands – could damage the cause.

“You have to remain grounded,” he said. “Targets must be achievable, as overstretched targets could have a demotivating effect. That will cause various parties to drop out.”

The chief executive called for better co-operation between EU members regarding climate change goals.

“You see too frequently a fragmented approach in which every country has its own agenda. It does not help, for example, if there are different standards for biofuels in, say, Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

“As far as active leadership is concerned, the process of realising one European standard is progressing reluctantly.”

As long as there is no European standard other trade blocks will stay on the sidelines, he said.

The Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that global emissions be reduced by 25pc to 40pc below levels in 1990, but the US last month vetoed the inclusion of that guideline into the climate change road map.

Mr Van der Veer said global emissions cuts would be more difficult than people realise because developing nations will rely on coal and other fossil fuels to meet most of their energy needs in the coming decades.

“Another two to three billion people will be consuming fossil fuels in the not too distant future,” he said.

“The amount of energy consumed in 2050 will be 50pc higher than today. That is a very great deal. People are underestimating this.”

He said growing consumption of coal, in particular, would boost carbon dioxide emissions.

At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to access oil and gas resources. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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