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Shell’s AGM: Shareholders Demand Climate Action, Shell Prefers Business as Usual

Posted by John Donovan: 17 Jan 24

Once upon a time, in the magical world of Big Oil, Shell faced a rebellion not from environmentalists, but from its own shareholders. Yes, you heard it right! The company known for its gentle, loving embrace of the environment is being asked by its investors, including the UK’s biggest pension scheme, to set bigger emissions targets. It’s like asking a dragon to be vegan, but hey, miracles can happen!

Twenty-seven investors, clearly in a moment of climate-conscious epiphany, have backed a resolution by the daring Dutch activists at Follow This. Their mission? To get Shell to align with the Paris Agreement. Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, must feel like David facing Goliath, except this Goliath wears a suit and loves oil more than cookies.

Diandra Soobiah, head of responsible investment at Nest, has boldly stated, “We urge Shell to set a credible scope 3 absolute emissions target.” In other words, she’s asking Shell to actually do something about the emissions from the products they sell. Imagine that!

Shell’s annual general meeting, which sounds more fun than a barrel of monkeys, is where this drama will unfold. But wait, there’s more! Last year’s AGM was a scene straight out of a sitcom, with climate protests turning it into an impromptu comedy hour.

Shell, in its infinite wisdom, has called the resolution “unrealistic and simplistic,” and says it would have “no impact on mitigating climate change.” That’s like saying eating less won’t help you lose weight – a logic only Shell could come up with.

Shell’s CEO, Wael Sawan, has plans to keep investing in fossil fuels because, apparently, the future of our planet is less important than making a few extra bucks. They’re aiming to cut emissions from their operations by 50% by 2030, but let’s not forget their clever use of carbon accounting, which is like dieting but only on weekdays.

And here’s the icing on the cake: the International Energy Agency says no new oil, gas, or coal projects should be developed to meet Paris agreement goals. But Shell, in a classic ‘hold my beer’ moment, seems to think otherwise.

So, as Shell’s AGM approaches, get your popcorn ready. Will the shareholders’ revolution succeed, or will Shell continue to live in its own wonderland where climate change is just a pesky little rabbit to be ignored? Only time will tell in this topsy-turvy tale of oil and rebellion!

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