Lost Decade: How Shell Downplayed Early Warnings Over Climate Change
Narrated in the upper-crust accent favoured by British documentary-makers of the era, Shell’s 1981 film Time for Energy assesses the scope for solar, wind, nuclear, and other sources of power to end the world’s dependence on finite reserves of oil. By the closing credits, the viewer is left in little doubt that there is only one fuel plentiful and versatile enough to carry the world “safely” into the 21st century: coal. The 30-minute film makes no mention of the coal assets the Anglo-Dutch oil major had acquired in an effort to diversify in the wake of the 1973 oil shock. Nor does it refer to a topic that was of unequivocal scientific concern at the time: The “greenhouse effect,” or what is now known as climate change.