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It’s a new year and Shell has a new boss, but the same old greed just won’t cut it

It’s a new year and Shell has a new boss, but the same old greed just won’t cut it

The company has to start paying for its share of the climate damage oil and gas have caused around the world. It certainly has the funds

inews.co.ukJanuary 6, 2023 11:41 am(Updated 1:07 pm)

OPINION By Areeba Hamid

As we welcome in a new year, Shell welcomes its new CEO, Wael Sawan.

Coming from Shell’s alternative energy division, Sawan’s appointment has already sparked speculation that this could mark a departure from the era of predecessor Ben van Beurden who presided over – among other things – Shell’s ignominious departure from the Alaskan Arctic, its first dividend cut since the Second World War and a loss in a landmark climate court case in the Netherlands. The company was also recently the focus of an documentary exposé and stinging spoof from comedian Joe Lycett.

Sawan steps up at an interesting time for the fossil fuel industry.

While households up and down the UK freeze, and struggle to put food on the table, Shell has made the most of tax breaks to avoid paying any windfall tax whatsoever. It’s even milked £100m from taxpayers. And instead of investing profits back into clean, cheap renewable power which could alleviate bills and shore up UK energy security, Shell has funnelled billions of that extra cash back into shareholder pockets in the form of buybacks.

This doesn’t go unnoticed. Fossil fuel companies are fast becoming the tobacco-style pariahs of our day.

Sawan could make a choice to turn Shell around, to future-proof the company and pivot to delivering cheap, clean renewables in a fair way. Ultimately, Shell needs to stop drilling, and to start paying for its share of the climate damage oil and gas have caused around the world. With the oil and gas industry having made £2.3bn per day in profits over the last 50 years, they can surely find the funds.

New year, new boss – but the same old Shell just isn’t going to cut it.

Areeba Hamid is Greenpeace UK’s co-executive director

FULL ARTICLE

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