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Shell’s Climate Targets: A Masterclass in Greenwashing and Greed

Shell’s priorities are crystal clear: profits over people, greed over green.

Posted by John Donovan 28 March 2024

Hold onto your hats, folks, because it seems like Shell’s climate targets just got a facelift—and boy, is it a sight to behold. In a move that can only be described as a slap in the face to environmental progress, the UK’s favourite oil and gas giant has decided to water down its commitments to cutting carbon emissions, all while maintaining its oh-so-noble pledge for net zero by 2050. How commendable!

In a stunning display of corporate doublespeak, Shell revealed its latest energy transition update, proudly announcing that it had diluted key climate targets, including the ever-so-crucial “net carbon intensity.” Because why bother actually reducing emissions when you can just tweak the numbers to make it look like you’re doing something, am I right?

But wait, it gets better. Not content with merely watering down its targets, Shell also decided to throw in a little curveball by introducing a new goal: curbing customer emissions from the use of its oil products. How thoughtful of them to finally acknowledge the impact of their own damn products on the planet. Bravo, Shell, bravo.

Of course, no climate target update would be complete without a healthy dose of greenwashing, and Shell did not disappoint. While they’re busy diluting their commitments left and right, they’re also touting their investments in renewables like it’s going out of style. Nothing says “committed to the environment” like investing a fraction of your profits in green energy while continuing to pump out fossil fuels like there’s no tomorrow.

But fear not, dear shareholders, for Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan is here to reassure us that everything is just peachy keen. “Today, the world must meet the growing demand for energy while tackling the urgent challenge of climate change,” he declared, presumably with a straight face. Because, in Shell’s world, you can have your cake and eat it too—just as long as you’re raking in the profits.

Unsurprisingly, green campaigners weren’t exactly thrilled with Shell’s latest antics. Calling out the company for backtracking on its climate targets, environmental activist shareholders’ group Follow This minced no words, accusing Shell of betting “on the failure of the Paris climate agreement” and warning of the dire consequences of their greed-fueled agenda.

But hey, who cares about saving the planet when there are profits to be made, right? Shell’s priorities are crystal clear: profits over people, greed over green. And as for Sawan’s hefty paycheck amidst a cost-of-living crisis? Well, let’s just say it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of plundering our planet for profit. Shame on you, Shell. Shame on you.

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