Royal Dutch Shell Is A Planetary Death Machine
Two months ago, Shell announced a $300 million fund for “investing in natural ecosystems” over the next three years. This, it claims, will help to “support the transition towards a low-carbon future”. By paying for reforestation, it intends to offset some of the greenhouse gases produced by its oil and gas extraction. In conversations with environmental campaigners from several parts of the world, I keep hearing the same theme: Shell is changing, Shell is sincere – so shouldn’t we support it?
The fund sounds big, and it is – until you compare it with Shell’s annual income of $24 billion. Shell’s transition towards a low-carbon future is almost invisible in its annual report. Renewable energy doesn’t figure in its summary of financial results.
Shell’s “cash engines”, according to its annual report, are oil and gas. There is no sign that it plans to turn the engines off. Its “growth priorities” are chemical production and deep water oil extraction. It is also explicit about the purpose of schemes such as its natural ecosystems fund. The company’s success, its chairman says, “will depend largely on whether society trusts us. Investors invest in companies they trust, governments allow trusted companies to operate and consumers buy things from people they trust.”
Shell intends to keep finding and developing new reserves. Only last week, it withheld its support for a legally binding target to reduce the EU’s emissions to net zero by 2050.