Shell claims to support the Paris climate goals. However, it still invests tens of billions of euro in gas and oil each year. What is Shell’s current role in the transition to sustainable energy? Together with Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie), we created the ShellWatch.nl website, which compares the words of Shell with their actions.
If you take Shell’s words at face value, you see a leader in the fight against climate change. Their 2015 Sustainability Report stated ‘We must all work together to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement’. Recently, Marjan van Loon, president of Shell Netherlands, suggested a master plan for energy transition. ‘Our energy system and all that goes with it in the economy is going to change dramatically.’ Last but not least, by the end of this decade, Shell wants to invest 1 billion US dollars in renewable energy each year.
Is this more than just rhetoric? In its 2016 Sustainability Report, Shell clearly identifies its growth priorities as being in deep-sea oil and gas, and chemical products. According to Shell, from 2020 onwards, these will be the future cash engines of the company. For the period after that, Shell expects to be involved in a lot of fracking (extracting oil and gas from shale rock), as well as gas and renewable energy.
These priorities are reflected in Shell’s recent mega-investments, such as the construction of the Prelude floating gas plant (10-13 billion US dollars), the acquisition of the BG Group, one of the biggest players in the field of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (64 billion euro), and exploration and production of deep sea oil in Brazil (10 billion euro).
The website presents the words of Shell against its actions in a handy chronological overview, subdivided into various themes such as lobbying, fossil energy and cash flows. In this way, Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) is presenting a convenient and clear record that is accessible to anyone with an interest in the subject.