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Shell Is Second In The Climate Greenwash Awards 2009


Monday, 25 May 2009

Shell was announced “second” to a Swedish energy giant – Vattenfall as the winner of the Climate Greenwash Award 2009 (dissemination of misleading information to conceal its abuse of the environment in order to present a positive public image) at a ceremony in Copenhagen on Saturday May 23, on the eve of the World Business Summit on Climate Change. 

Some of the “key determinants for success’ of the oil giant is its continued adverts to mislead the public about what it is doing to tackle climate change and its activities in the Niger Delta that have devastated the local environment. 

The Climate Greenwash Awards were organised to highlight the way in which big business is increasingly turning to green spin to hide its polluting agenda. Energy companies, many of which once denied that climate change was happening, are now keen to portray themselves as green heroes in the fight against climate change.  

The awards organisers warn that many of the so-called solutions being put forward by business will not help reduce emissions. Companies are advocating unproven technologies such as carbon capture and storage and failed mechanisms such as carbon trading, to justify their continuing pollution.
The Climate Greenwash Awards were organised by Corporate Europe Observatory, Attac Denmark, The Climate Movement, ClimaX and Friends of the Earth Denmark.

For Shell: misleading adverts, devastating the Nigerian envrionment  In 2007 oil giant Shell was ordered to withdraw misleading advertisements in Europe after it was accused of greenwash.

Shell may have cleaned up its advertising, but it continues to mislead the public about what it is doing to tackle climate change.Royal Dutch Shell is a member of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development, one of the convenors behind the Copenhagen Business Summit.

It has long boasted of its commitment to sustainable development and recognised the need to tackle climate change.

But despite its claims, Shell has pulled its investment in renewable energy, ditching its solar business in 2007 and pulling out of all renewables in 2009.Shell now talks about delivering “responsible energy”.

This includes dredging for tar sands in Canada – even though Shell admits this produces 15% more CO2 than crude oil. It also has a devastating impact on the environment.Shell’s responsible approach also allows flaring gas in Nigeria, despite court rulings ordering the company to stop. Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta have devastated the local environment.

Flaring gas – the practice of burning off the gas found alongside the oil – is the largest source of CO2 emissions in sub-Saharan Africa.

The gas could be captured for local use, but instead it is burnt, destroying the climate and damaging local people’s health.Shell also invests in agrofuels, including research in second generation technologies that it claims “do not compete with food crops” – although most second generation fuel sources do require vast areas of land.

Shell currently markets ethanol made from wheat and sugar cane, contributing to rising food prices. Shell has diverted investments in wind and solar to agrofuels.

In 2008, Shell emitted 75 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (CO2 equivalent) – and aims to cut emissions by just 5% by 2010.Shell actively lobbies through International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) and EUROPIA to minimise the costs of emissions trading, by blocking moves to auction permits for refineries under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Shell’s chief executive chairs the Energy and Climate Change Working Group of the European Roundtable of Industrialists.

Vattenfall, which won with 39% of the vote, was nominated for its mastery of spin on climate change, portraying itself as a climate champion while lobbying to continue business as usual, using coal, nuclear power, and pseudo-solutions such as agrofuels and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The energy company also played a key role in setting up the World Business Summit on Climate Change through the Combat Climate Change – a lobby group established by Vattenfall to promote the climate-friendly technologies such as carbon capture and storage and nuclear power, which are the company’s preferred options for tackling climate change. 

The Danish Government was also given a special award for its role in  helping establish the World Business Summit on Climate Change – which is expected to attract some of the world’s most polluting companies;  for providing business lobbyists with direct, privileged access to  negotiators ahead of crucial UN Climate Change talks in December; and  for withdrawing support for Danish wind energy and failing to meet its Kyoto targets
Close to 2000 votes were cast; after winner Vattenfall (39%), the  runners-up were Shell (19.3%) and DONG (14.4%).

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