The Royal Dutch Shell has rolled out a $300 million worth of projects to reduce carbon emissions and for deforestation in Spain and Netherlands
SHELL is ready to invest $300 million to reduce carbon emissions generated from fossil fuels in reforestation projects in Spain and the Netherlands in the next three years.
The reforestation projects will absorb some of the CO2 produced when customers burn petrol and natural gas.
Shell will also invest in electric vehicle charging stations and a fuel programme that allows drivers to offset their carbon pollution.
These are part of the companies programmes to reduce carbon emissions by two percent over the next three years.
In Spain, the company is partnering with Land Life Co. on a reforestation project which has an aim of planting 300,000 trees by the end of 2019. In the Netherlands, it will work with Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch forestry service with the goal of planting five million trees over a period of 12 years.
Other measures include the establishment of an 800-hectare forest regeneration project in Australia and conservation work with the Malaysian government. Ben van Beurden, CEO, Royal Dutch Shell, said: “Our focus on natural ecosystems is one step we are taking today to support the transition towards a low-carbon future. This comes in addition to our existing efforts, from reducing the carbon intensity of oil and gas operations to investments in renewable sources of energy.”
Last year, Beurden said there is need for “massive reforestation” in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C (2.7°F). “Think of another Brazil in terms of rainforest and you can get to 1.5°C,” he told an audience in London.
Beurden has been under increasing criticism by shareholders over the size of his salary. His pay more than doubled last year to over €20-million, making it 143 times larger than the average Shell employee in the UK. Critics have pointed to the timing of the announcement, which could bury the news of the CEO’s massive pay increase beneath a flurry of feel good stories.
Following Shell’s statement, activist investor group Follow This, which also has investments in ExxonMobil, BP and Chevron, announced they will withdraw this year’s resolution to pressure the company to act on climate change. The resolutions have been filed for the past three years in a row, but the founder of Follow This, Mark van Baal, said the withdrawal this year was a result of the progress made by Shell, allowing them time to align their climate ambitions with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Shell’s announcement comes a few days after a lawsuit was filed against it by Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands. The legal action, which includes 17,000 private citizens as plaintiffs, seeks to force the oil giant to address the part it has played in the changing climate. The goal of the lawsuit is to get Shell to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 against 2010 levels, and to zero by 2050, in line with the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Carroll Muffett, president of the Center for International Environmental Law, said last Friday, “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that window of action for avoiding irreversible and truly catastrophic climate harms is narrow and closing rapidly. Today’s suit against Shell sends a clear signal that business as usual is no longer acceptable. Companies that continue ignoring climate risks can and will be held legally accountable and financially responsible for their actions. Investors and corporate decision-makers who ignore this new reality do so at their peril.”
Friends of the Earth acknowledge that Shell has made large investments in carbon offsetting, renewable energy and EV charging points, but the group argue that the target of lowered emissions by 3 percent by 2021 is not enough.
Roger Cox, a member of the legal team behind the lawsuit argued that Shell is responsible for around 2 per cent of global carbon emissions, and explained the legal basis for the action; “What we are doing is issuing a writ of summons to Shell. This is a particular unique case because what we are seeking here is a prevention of future climate harm, instead of looking for financial compensation for losses that have already occurred.”
The Friends of the Earth lawsuit is not the only legal action facing Royal Dutch Shell. The company is also facing prosecution in the Netherlands, Italy and the UK over alleged bribes paid out to the Nigerian authorities over exploitation rights off the coast of the oil-rich African nation.
Shell is also facing its second lawsuit in five years in London regarding oil spills in the Niger Delta. The Ogale community, comprising about 40,000 people, mostly farmers and fishermen, in Rivers State, Nigeria, are among the claimants. The case claims that repeated spills since 1989 have led to a lack of clean drinking water, dirty rivers and polluted farmland, threatening the community’s existence.
A 2015 report by Amnesty International found that four spill sites remain that Shell have yet to begin clearing up. Shell argues that the spills in the area are mostly down to thieves who damage pipelines in attempts to steal crude oil and refine it locally. The lawsuits continue, but there are hopes that the moves by Royal Dutch Shell to offset its carbon emissions are a step in the right direction and the beginning of a larger move towards the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. – with reports from Orient news
– Apr. 10, 2019 @ 13:19 GMT |