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Shell’s Climate Crimes Exposed

June 29, 2009
12:14 PM
CONTACT: Friends of The Earth
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748

New report from environmental groups exposes Shell’s anti-climate lobbying activities

WASHINGTON – June 29 – Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International released a report today detailing oil giant Shell’s colossal contribution to global climate change and its continued investment in carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

The report 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 for purely financial reasons.

“Shell greenwashes itself as a sustainable company when in reality it is the dirtiest oil producer of all,” said Ben Schreiber of Friends of the Earth. “As evidenced by Shell’s lobbying activities on the flawed climate bill that passed the House last Friday, the company has been instrumental in weakening climate legislation while claiming to care about the environment.”

Despite attempts by outgoing Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer to portray a green image, the company has opted for a way forward that is in stark contradiction with the need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change. Shell’s heavy investments in the most carbon-emitting energy sources, such as tar sands, liquefied natural 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 greenhouse gas pollution, according to the report.

Since 1996 Shell has promised to stop gas flaring in Nigeria—the biggest source of heat-trapping gases in sub-Saharan Africa. But the company has repeatedly broken its promises and rejected statements by the Nigerian government that flaring should be stopped. 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 from Oil Change International said, “Shell could stop flaring gas in Nigeria for only 10 percent of last year’s profit for the company. The company’s new CEO, 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?”

Today’s report, “Shell’s Big Dirty Secret,” comes after a global backlash against the energy giant’s abuses of human rights and the environment. On June 8, Shell was forced to pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit in the U.S. seeking to hold it accountable for human rights abuses in Nigeria. The company is also facing legal action in The Hague concerning repeated oil spills which have damaged the livelihoods of Nigerian fisherpeople and farmers.

The report can be viewed at:


Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

Friends of The Earth Links: and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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