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.
We’re halfway through 2020, and I think we can all safely say it’s been a pretty terrible year. There’s been so much terrible stuff in the past two months alone, I can’t even remember the bad stuff that happened in January. But I’m sure it sucked. So I’ll take minor bits of good news where I can get it. And the latest is Shell writing down $22 billion on its balance sheets, making it the latest oil company to acknowledge that things are probably not going back to the way they were. The company announced it expected the dip in value to be driven by both its oil and gas sides of the business on Tuesday. The problem, for Shell and other fossil fuel companies big and small, is that the pandemic has cratered demand. The price of oil dipped into negative territory for a hot second in April, and the fallout has continued.
In the court summons, Friends of the Earth Netherlands outlines why it is bringing this groundbreaking climate litigation case against Shell, highlighting the company’s early knowledge of climate change and its own role in causing it. Despite acknowledging that the fossil fuel industry has a responsibility to act on climate change, and claiming to “strongly support” the Paris Agreement, Shell continues to lobby against climate policy and to invest billions in further oil and gas extraction. This is incompatible with global climate goals.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams - Just two weeks after Royal Dutch Shell's offshore drilling operations released nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the water off the Louisiana coast, an Indigenous activist from the Gulf region spoke out at Shell's annual shareholders meeting in the Netherlands on Tuesday, highlighting the company's history of environmental devastation in the place she calls home. "In the late 90s, after learning that their community was plagued by an open-air, toxic, oil-field waste facility...
By Mike Ludwig for Truthout - As Shell Oil and the US Coast Guard continued to clean up a large oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, about 1,300 protesters from across North America marched in Washington, DC, to protest the Obama administration's offshore drilling plan. Lindsay Meiman, an organizer with the climate justice group 350.org, said the spill "reinvigorated the sense of urgency to ban offshore drilling" already felt by the frontline communities in the Gulf and Arctic regions that sent activists to lead the protest.
By Ryan Schleeter for Greene Peace - Just weeks after commemorating the six-year anniversary of the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon blowout, the Gulf of Mexico is once again the site of a major oil spill. Yesterday evening, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported a 36-square-mile oil sheen visible about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast near Shell’s Brutus platform. As of this morning, no injuries had been reported.
By Adam Vaughan for The Guardian - The Science Museum will not renew a controversial sponsorship deal with Shell in which the oil company provided significant funding for its high-profile climate change exhibition. The museum in London answered a freedom of information request saying: “No, the Science Museum Group [formerly the National Museum of Science & Industry] does not have plans to renew its existing sponsorship deal or initiate a new deal or funding agreement with Royal Dutch Shell.”
By Brian C. Black in The Conversation - After billions of dollars invested over several years, Royal Dutch Shell said September 28 it would end oil exploration offshore Alaska after “disappointing” results. But industry efforts to drill for oil and natural gas in the Arctic are unlikely to end with Shell’s decision to abandon the Chukchi Sea. Indeed, momentum to exploit fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic has been building for decades. This week, in fact, political and industry leaders will converge on Fairbanks, Alaska for the 2015 Arctic Energy Summit, where they will consider options and opportunities for energy development, despite some of the lowest gasoline prices in years and a glut of natural gas in the US. The trends pushing for oil and gas in the Arctic run counter to the efforts of a growing number of advocates who argue some fossil fuel resources need to remain untapped to slow the rate of carbon emissions.
By Hannah McKinnon in Price of Oil - Royal Dutch Shell announced this morning that it would be abandoning its exploration program in the U.S. offshore Arctic for the “foreseeable future” (see our response here). After more than 7 billion dollars and many seasons of almost unbelievable mishaps – Shell made the call along with an announcement that this season’s efforts had failed to turn up any worthwhile find. This is a huge win for the climate. We know that Arctic oil is incompatible with a safe global climate. Big oil’s high cost, high risk hunt for unburnable carbon at the ends of the earth was indicative of just how far the industry is willing to go to cling to last century’s dirty energy. So what went right for those opposing Shell’s arctic drilling? Shell has many drilling seasons under its belt where it did not uncover any huge Arctic reserves, but for some reason this time, enough was enough and the company is calling it quits.
By Terry Macalister for the Guardian - The movement has done an incredible job over the last three years protesting Shell's arctic drilling culminating with the #SHellNo campaign this summer. The stock of Shell was dropping, its' public image was taking a major hit and the company was going to see an escalation of protest against it. This was always a risky and foolish invesment. An important lesson for the movement, one we have seen repeated in our experience on a wide range of issues: you never know how close you are to victory. It looked the protests had failed to stop Shell. They got their equipment into the Artic and began drilling. There were no indications of Shell giving up even last week. This should hearten all of those fighting what seem like impossible campaigs. You may be closer than you think. Keep fighting, never give up. Of course, this is not over. There is still a rapacious desire for oil and we need to continue to push for an end to all licenses for drilling in the arctic. We are urging people to take action to finish the job. Send an email to President Obama today urging him to ban arctic drilling.
By Kara O'Neill in Mirror - A giant dying polar bear has been placed outside the headquarters of oil and gas company Shell in a bid to stop their Arctic drilling programme. British actress Emma Thompson was among the protesters who manoeuvred the three-tone puppet into place, locking six people inside so the bear cannot be moved. The bear, which is the size of a double decker bus, and is named Aurora (after the Northern Lights) is intended to sit outside the company's headquarter in South Bank, London, until they cease their drilling. British actor Emma joined the 64 activists before taking to the stage to read an original poem to Shell, penned especially for the occasion. Two weeks ago, Shell was given the go ahead to start drilling in the Arctic Ocean to look for new oil reserves. It has until September 28 to strike oil before it must shut up its operation for winter.
By Terry Macalister in The Guardian - Shell has been forced to leave a Prince of Wales climate change project which it helped found after a row over the oil company’s controversial drilling programme in the Arctic. The departure from the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leader Group is another embarrassing setback for the oil and gas company, which has been battling to preserve its reputation in the face of a vociferous and growing campaign against its operations in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. Greenpeace said the Anglo-Dutch group was rapidly becoming a pariah in the business world. The exit was announced in a short note on the climate change programme’s website, based at Cambridge University, which said: “As of September 2015 longstanding member Royal Dutch Shell is no longer a member.”
By Tony Doukupil in MSNBC - President Obama is days away from championing his climate change agenda during a landmark visit to Alaska, a region he’s called “the front lines” of climate change. But on Monday his administration seemed to move in a starkly different direction, giving Shell permission to drill for actual oil beneath the Arctic Ocean — a move that activists and many scientists say will only hasten the region’s slow burn. A newly modified permit, issued by an obscure division of the Interior Department, gives the company a chance to drill a well before the mandatory end of its drilling season on September 28. It’s a major milestone, which has taken more than 10 years and $7 billion to achieve.
By Various in Our Arctic Ocean - From Santa Barbara to Boston and from Florida to Alaska, hundreds of citizens banded together on Saturday for the “Shell No” Day of Action. With more than 20 events in 15 different states – which included speeches by a U.S. Senator, a Congresswoman, and numerous other local elected officials – the nationwide protest continued the “kayaktivist” movement that began in Seattle, and called on President Obama to stop Shell – or any other oil company – from drilling in the Arctic Ocean. The “kayaktivism” movement began in May in Seattle when controversy erupted over whether Seattle should host Shell’s Arctic armada, including the 307-foot-tall Polar Pioneer drill rig. That protest sparked a national debate on the dangers of Arctic Ocean drilling.
By Mike Gaworecki in DeSmogBlog - Is Shell finally “Arctic Ready” after its doomed 2012 campaign? The company is set to begin drilling in the Arctic within the week, and it’s already not looking good. The MSV Fennica, an icebreaker vessel bound for the Chukchi Sea, had barely left its berth in Dutch Harbor, Alaska last Friday when it had to immediately turn around. The crew discovered a 39-inch long, half-inch-wide breach in the Fennica’s hull, FuelFix reports. There is no word yet from Shell on how long the repairs are expected to take, or how the company intends to proceed in the event that the Fennica is taken out of service for a long period of time. Any significant change to Shell’s Arctic drilling plans could force a new review by the USDepartment of the Interior.