Tag Archives: Royal Dutch Shell

Shell Knew, Too: New Docs Show Oil Giant’s Scientists Secretly Warned About Climate Threat Decades Ago

“These reports reaffirm that fossil fuel companies have been—and always will be—bad actors,” said 350.org’s executive director

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 4-5-2018

“Although CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere through several natural processes,” a 1988 Shell report states, “the main cause of increasing CO2 concentrations is considered to be fossil fuel burning.” (Photo: FraserElliot/flickr/cc)

Royal Dutch Shell’s scientists warned the oil giant about the threat that fossil fuel emissions pose to the planet as early as the 1980s, according to a trove of documents obtained by a Dutch journalist and published Thursday at Climate Files.

Environmental advocates say the documents—which bolster an investigative report published last year—demonstrate the “stunning” immorality of oil and gas companies. The records are expected to aid global efforts to hold the industry to account for its contributions to global warming. Continue reading

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Leaked Emails Show Big Oil Execs Oversaw ‘Vast Bribery Scheme’ in Nigeria

‘This is one of the worst corruption scandals the oil industry has ever seen, and this is the biggest development so far’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-10-2017

69% or 112,470,000 of Nigerians are living in poverty. By Mesh22 [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a damning development in one of the oil industry’s biggest global corruption scandals, leaked emails reveal that Big Oil executives knowingly took part in “a vast bribery scheme that robbed the Nigerian people of over a billion dollars,” a new exposé has revealed.

The full investigation, titled Shell Knew, was published by watchdog groups Global Witness and Finance Uncovered on Monday. It includes newly-unearthed internal emails which show that officials at the highest level of Royal Dutch Shell and the Rome-based oil and gas company Eni were aware that a $1 billion payment in 2011 for OPL 245—said to be “one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks”—would end up in the hands of convicted money launderer and ex-Nigerian oil ministerDan Etete, and from there “would flow onward for bribes.” Continue reading

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An elusive justice—holding parent companies accountable for human rights abuse

A UK judgement on Shell’s operations in Nigeria yet again shows the need to prevent powerful multinationals hiding behind their subsidiaries to dodge accountability for human rights abuses.

By Joe Westby. Published 2-14-2017 by openDemocracy

Local residents survey the aftermath of an oil spill in the Niger River Delta. Photo: Sosialistisk Ungdom/Flickr

Recently, the UK High Court threw out a case brought against oil giant Shell by two impoverished communities in the Niger Delta. It is a blow to the communities in their struggle for justice after suffering years of devastating oil spills.

But the judgement also has wider implications for corporate accountability, making it more difficult to bring future legal cases against UK companies that abuse human rights abroad. As such, the ruling goes to the heart of a situation in which multinational corporations enjoy an impunity that is sharply at odds with their enormous profits and power. It further demonstrates the need for legal reforms that actually improve access of victims of corporate abuse to courts in jurisdictions where large corporations are based (the ‘home’ state). Continue reading

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‘Incredible Victory’: Obama Bans Drilling in Parts of Arctic and Atlantic

Move comes in response to efforts by climate activists urging president to secure environmental protections before new administration takes power

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-20-2016

Although green groups welcomed the announcement, they cautioned that wide swaths of land and sea remain open to plunder. (Photo: The Sierra Club/flickr/cc)

Update:

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he would permanently protect parts of the Arctic and Atlantic from offshore drilling. That includes 3.8 million acres in the north and mid-Atlantic Ocean.

“These actions…protect a sensitive and unique ecosystem that is unlike any other region on Earth,” he said in a statement.

Green groups welcomed the announcement and credited grassroots climate justice movements. Continue reading

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Trade Officials Promised Exxon That TTIP Will Erase Environmental ‘Obstacles’ Worldwide

EU trade officials soothed the oil giant as it fretted about new regulations popping up in Global South

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-23-2016

The revelations underscore criticisms that trade agreements like the TTIP constitute a "race to the bottom" for environmental, public health, and labor standards. (Photo: Holger Boening/cc/flickr)

The revelations underscore criticisms that trade agreements like the TTIP constitute a “race to the bottom” for environmental, public health, and labor standards. (Photo: Holger Boening/cc/flickr)

Newly released documents show that, in back-room talks, European officials assured ExxonMobil that the pending US-EU trade agreement would force the removal of regulatory “obstacles” worldwide, thus opening up even more countries to exploitation by the fossil fuel empire.

Heavily redacted documents pertaining to an October 2013 meeting, obtained by theGuardian and reported on Tuesday, reveal that then-trade commissioner Karel de Gucht met with two officials from ExxonMobil’s EU and U.S. divisions to address the benefits of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Continue reading

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21 Teens Tell Exxon and Koch Brothers: Get Out of Our Lawsuit

By Our Children’s Trust. Published 12-8-2015 at EcoWatch

Twenty-one young people from around the country are working to keep the world’s largest fossil fuel companies from intervening in their constitutional climate change lawsuit. Last week, the youth opposed the industry’s proposal to intervene as defendants in their case.

The proposed interveners are trade associations for major corporations, including the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)—representing ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Koch Industries and virtually all other U.S. refiners and petrochemical manufacturers—the American Petroleum Institute (API)—representing 625 oil and natural gas companies—and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). 

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“These organizations were not named as defendants in our complaint,” Phil Gregory, of Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy said. Gregory serves as one of the attorneys for the youth plaintiffs. “The fossil fuel industry understands how significant our case is. They want to join the federal government in attempting to defeat the constitutional claims asserted by these youth plaintiffs. The fossil fuel industry and the federal government lining up against 21 young citizens. That shows you what is at stake here.”

The lawsuit asserts the federal government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. It also claims the government failed to protect essential public trust resources by facilitating the exploitation of fossil fuels. The youth have asked the courts to order the federal government to prepare and implement a science-based national climate recovery plan. 

The fossil fuel powerhouses call the youth’s case “extraordinary” and “a direct threat to [their] businesses.” They claim “significant reduction in [greenhouse gas] emissions would cause a significant negative effect on [their] members by constraining the sale of the product they have specialized in developing and selling.” 

Victoria Barrett, 16-year-old plaintiff and fellow with Alliance for Climate Education, is participating in the climate talks in Paris advocating for science-based climate recovery plans. Barrett became a plaintiff because she was tired of the U.S. government sacrificing her future by allowing fossil fuel companies unbridled economic growth.

“Fossil fuel companies continue to show complete disregard for my future and the future of my generation,” Barrett said. “They have put my constitutional right to a certain quality of living at risk and continue to completely bulldoze over any real solutions for a sustainable world. These companies are focused on short-term goals, without thinking of their lasting effects on humanity. Fossil fuels are the energy of the past and I see no reason why these companies would not want to pride themselves in looking to the future.”

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In seeking to join the case, AFPM, API and NAM argue the court should focus on short-term economic benefits over a stable climate and healthy environment for future generations. The industry claims that “reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels down to 350 parts per million would abate some of the future risks of climate change, those reductions would nevertheless not be ‘appropriate’ if the future potential benefits would be outweighed by, for instance, enormous losses in productivity and economic development.”

In a declaration on behalf API’s motion to intervene, Howard Feldman claims, “A sudden and significant reduction in allowable GHG emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels could have a significant negative effect on the profitability of many of API’s members.” However, Jack Gerard, API’s president and CEO, presented a different picture in a press release on API’s website: “The facts are clear … by embracing our nation’s energy renaissance, we can lower costs, clean the air and create more jobs here at home while providing an example to the world.”

AFPM echoed API’s concern in a declaration of David Friedman of AFPM, stating, “If Plaintiffs succeed in eliminating or massively reducing U.S. conventional fuel consumption and imposing other severe restrictions on GHG emission limits, the impact on AFPM’s members will be significant and varied.” 

“We oppose the world’s largest fossil fuel polluters, including Exxon and Koch Industries, arguing that young people don’t have a constitutional right to life if it means reducing fossil fuel use,” said Julia Olson, executive director for Our Children’s Trust, also counsel in the litigation.

“Given what our president just said at the UN climate talks in Paris, a renewed alignment between our government and the fossil fuel industry could not be less welcome. This case asks the court to order what the industry fears most: a national plan using the best science we’ve got to try to leave clean air and a healthy climate to our kids.”

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Obama’s Rejection of Keystone XL Is Victory, But That’s Not the Whole Story

‘The black snake, Keystone XL, has been defeated and best believe we will dance to our victory!’

By Common Dreams. Published 11-6-2015

Photo: tarsandsaction/flickr/cc

Photo: tarsandsaction/flickr/cc

President Obama’s official rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday was met with grand applause from those who opposed the project and organizers who worked tirelessly, despite long odds, to force the adminstration’s hand.

However, even as celebrations were enjoyed and an evening rally was scheduled outside the White House, there’s more to this story than the simple rejection of a single pipeline and the ultimate climate legacy of a president who has announced a ‘historic’ decision. Continue reading

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Climate Catches ‘Huge Break’ as Shell Calls It Quits in the Arctic

At least for the ‘foreseeable future,’ the oil giant will put a hold on its offshore drilling in Alaska after finding insufficient deposits

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2015

In response to the announcement that Shell will cease drilling operations in the Arctic for the "foreseeable future," Greenpeace produced this image to offer their sentiments of farewell. (Image: Greenpeace/Twitter)

In response to the announcement that Shell will cease drilling operations in the Arctic for the “foreseeable future,” Greenpeace produced this image to offer their sentiments of farewell. (Image: Greenpeace/Twitter)

In what environmental campaigners are calling “a huge break” for the Arctic region and by extension the world’s climate, the Royal Dutch Shell oil company announced on Monday it would end exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea after disappointing results from its controversial operations in the Alaskan waters that took place this summer.

In a corporate press statement released Monday, the company said that its drilling vessel—located approximately 150 miles offshore and in about 150 feet of water—had “successfully” drilled an exploratory well to the depth of 6800 feet. Though the company claimed it “found indications of oil and gas,” it said the amount was “insufficient to warrant further exploration” and said the prospected site will now be “sealed and abandoned.” Continue reading

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Alaska Becomes Backdrop as Obama’s Climate Contradictions Laid Bare

Welcome gestures notwithstanding, there remains enormous gap ‘between meaningful action to address climate change and continued exploration for remote and difficult hydrocarbon resources.’

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-31-2015.

(Photo: Wenjie Qiao/flickr/cc)

Photo: Wenjie Qiao/flickr/cc

Though President Obama made headlines Sunday night by signing an executive order that officially renames Alaska’s Mt. McKinley to Denali—the name used by Indigenous people and most Alaskan residents—his visit to the country’s most northern state remains clouded for many by a contradictory stance in which he calls for strong climate action on one hand while simultaneously championing offshore Arctic drilling with the other.

In restoring Mt. McKinely’s name as Denali—which at 20,320 feet is North America’s tallest mountain—Obama was instating, as the Associated Press notes, a moniker Alaskans have informally used for centuries. The name means “the high one” in Athabascan. Continue reading

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With Final Stamp of Approval, White House Places Fate of Arctic in Shell’s Hands

The permit comes days after President Barack Obama announced an upcoming Alaska visit to highlight what he said was ‘one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-17-2015

Activists in Seattle protest against Shell's Arctic drilling plans. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Activists in Seattle protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Placing the “fate of the Arctic” in the care of Big Oil, the Obama administration on Monday granted Shell the final permit to drill deep into the waters off the Alaskan coast.

The permit, issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), comes days after President Barack Obama announced an upcoming Alaska visit to highlight what he said was “one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.”

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