Revelation of Shell's 1991 film "Climate of Concern" prompts criticisms about company's steps to block climate action despite knowledge of its consequences

The Correspondent, a Dutch online journalism platform, along  with the Guardian has shared a1991 film by Shell entitled “Climate  of Concern” which issues a serious warning on climate change. “Climate, says the film [is now changing] at a rate faster than at any time since the end of the ice age – changing too fast perhaps for life to adapt, without severe dislocation”. The revelation of the film has prompted criticisms from NGOs about Shell's steps to block climate action despite its knowledge of its consequences.

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Company response
7 March 2017

Shell's response

Author: Shell

“Our position on climate change is well known; recognizing the climate challenge and the role energy has in enabling a decent quality of life. Shell continues to call for effective policy to support lower carbon business and consumer choices and opportunities such as government lead carbon pricing/trading schemes. Today, Shell generally applies a $40 per tonne of CO2 internal project screening value to project decision-making and has developed leadership positions in natural gas and sugarcane ethanol; the lowest carbon hydrocarbon and biofuel respectively.” At Shell’s annual results presentation to media on February 2nd 2017, our CEO Ben van Beurden said: “If you look at climate change, and what is going to happen, our position has been very clear and has not changed. We believe that climate change is real and we believe that action will be needed. We believe that we are in the middle of an energy transition that is unstoppable and we want to be in the vanguard of that.”

2 March 2017

Renewed criticisms of Shell's climate change policies following revelation of 1991 film

Author: Damian Carrington & Jelmer Mommers, Guardian (UK)

"Shell's 1991 warning: climate changing ‘at faster rate than at any time since end of ice age’", 28 Feb 2017

Climate change “at a rate faster than at any time since the end of the ice age... That was the startling warning issued by the oil giant Shell more than a quarter of a century ago [in its] farsighted 1991 film, titled Climate of Concern, [which] set out with crystal clarity how the world was warming and that serious consequences could well result...But Shell’s actions on global warming since 1991, such as major investments in highly polluting tar sands…have been heavily criticised… [and] the revelation of the film… has renewed the criticism….Shell had, in fact, known of the risks of climate change even earlier. A “confidential” company report written in 1986… warned of the possibility of “fast and dramatic” changes…In 1989, Shell had already taken the effects of climate change into account in the construction of an oil rig…[but was also] a member of a…business lobby group that campaigned against climate action…Shell has also lobbied directly to undermine European renewable energy targets… [While] Shell was one of the first major oil companies to acknowledge the need to act on climate change… in 2015 its own external review committee concluded Shell’s sustainability report did not “adequately convey the urgency of this [low-carbon energy] transition”.

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2 March 2017

Shell “knew of climate change danger” since 1991 - Greenpeace response

Author: Greenpeace Southeast Asia, on Eco Business

2 Mar 2017

A film in 1991, produced by Shell, shows that the oil giant has long known about the catastrophic risks of climate change…In response, Desiree Llanos Dee, Climate Justice Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines, said: “…we must get to the bottom of what other fossil majors know and what they plan to do to avert catastrophic climate change. Shell’s empty rhetoric on climate is wholly contradicted by the core assumption underlying its business plan…and its lobbying against measures to mitigate climate change.”…Shell is one of 47 carbon majors being investigated in the world’s first national inquiry into the responsibility of the fossil fuel industry and others for human rights impacts resulting from climate change, being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines…The national inquiry in the Philippines is one of the many people-powered legal actions related to climate change initiated around the globe…

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