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Shell CEO’s Climate Love Letter: “It’s All Good” Says the Planet’s Top Polluter

Posted by John Donovan: 4 June 2024

In a twist straight out of a dystopian satire, Shell’s CEO Wael Sawan decided to back President Biden’s climate agenda with a level of enthusiasm typically reserved for used car salesmen and snake oil peddlers.

At an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Sawan showered praise on Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law and Inflation Reduction Act, claiming they’re “attracting a significant amount of capital in different states, whether it’s a red or blue state.” Oh, how inclusive.

“You’re creating jobs. You’re actually starting to anchor new industries. And over time, what you will do is you will create supply chains locally that are able to satisfy the demands of many of these industries,” he gushed. “That’s all good.” Yes, because nothing screams “environmental stewardship” like a fossil fuel titan suddenly championing green jobs.

This revelation comes as a shock only to those living under a rock, considering Shell’s recent break from the broader oil industry to advocate for the IRA – a law passed solely by Democrats and opposed by every single Republican. Shell, ever the opportunist, now champions clean energy portions of the law to fend off potential GOP attacks.

Meanwhile, in a stunning display of timing, Sawan’s endorsement arrives right before the elections, where Biden squares off against former President Trump. Trump, who eagerly courts oil industry dollars, promises to dismantle Biden’s climate initiatives. Yet here’s Sawan, the CEO of a company famous for environmental destruction, asking Capitol Hill for “stability” and “predictability” in climate technology incentives and liquefied natural gas (LNG) permits.

“My message is one of pleading for stability and predictability in the energy system,” Sawan said with a straight face. “We make investments with usually as a minimum 15- if not 25- [or] 30-year horizons.” Yes, because Shell’s investments in the environment have always been about sustainability and not, you know, profit.

Naturally, Sawan criticizes the Biden administration for pausing new LNG export permits, bemoaning an “almost absolutist perspective” against fossil fuels. “The reality is it is an energy transition,” he says, pushing LNG as a cleaner alternative. Because nothing says “clean energy” like liquefied natural gas.

Shell’s leader then casts doubt on hydrogen import terminals being pursued by Germany. “The risk with it is, will you actually be able to attract the LNG?” he muses. Translation: Why bother with true renewables when you can sell more gas?

Under Sawan’s leadership, Shell has diluted its climate commitments, aiming for a feeble 15% reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2016 levels. Investors, apparently thrilled with mediocrity, supported this at Shell’s recent annual meeting, even rejecting a proposal to align with global climate targets. Net-zero by 2050? Sure, let’s believe that when Shell’s entire business model is built on burning the planet.

Distancing from Exxon Mobil on shareholder resolutions, Sawan diplomatically claims, “We welcome shareholders’ voices. We are listening to what they expect of us.” Meanwhile, Shell and other oil giants are under congressional investigation for allegedly spreading misinformation to derail climate efforts. When asked, Sawan dismisses the probe: “We’re still assessing the situation at the moment. I suspect that this will be a long, drawn-out process.”

So here’s the takeaway: Shell, the beloved champion of climate action, is on board with Biden’s agenda – as long as it means more gas, more profit, and minimal real change. “It’s all good,” indeed.

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