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Shell’s Self-Righteous Defense of Irresponsible Oil Production

Posted by John Donovan July 6, 2023

In a stunning display of arrogance, Shell’s boss, Wael Sawan, has declared that cutting oil and gas production would be “dangerous and irresponsible.” Apparently, the world still “desperately needs oil and gas,” according to Sawan, who seems to believe that renewable energy is simply not progressing fast enough to replace these polluting fossil fuels.

Climate scientists, however, are infuriated by Shell’s stubborn commitment to continue current oil production until 2030. Professor Emily Shuckburgh from the University of Cambridge rightly argues that companies like Shell should prioritize accelerating the transition to green energy instead of prolonging the use of oil and gas, which harms both the environment and vulnerable communities.

But Sawan dismisses these concerns, stating, “I respectfully disagree.” He defends his stance by suggesting that cutting oil and gas production would cause the cost of living to skyrocket, conveniently ignoring the fact that Shell’s own actions contribute to the rising energy prices and bills.

The race to abandon fossil fuels in favor of cleaner alternatives is a global imperative, with leaders pledging to limit global warming to 1.5C this century. The European Commission has already outlined plans to shift to green energy and reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas. Yet, Sawan insists that poorer countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh suffered when a bidding war for gas led to diverted LNG shipments to Northern Europe, leaving these nations without affordable energy. However, this argument conveniently neglects the fact that renewables are cleaner, cheaper, and better for public health.

Shell’s claims of a lack of clarity and stability on energy policy and taxation in the UK are simply an attempt to shift blame and justify their potential move to the US. Sawan highlights that the US is more supportive of oil and gas companies, as if valuing profit over the environment is something to be proud of. While Shell claims it has no immediate plans to move its headquarters, these remarks raise concerns that London’s financial prestige and job market may be impacted.

It is clear that Shell’s self-serving agenda prioritizes shareholder value over the urgent need to address climate change. By defending the indefensible, Shell continues to perpetuate environmental destruction and hinder progress toward a sustainable future.

Right of Reply: Shell is invited to point out any factual inaccuracies and provide closing comments for publication in this article on an unedited basis.

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