The development charity Oxfam has added its influential voice against Shell’s investment in Canadian oil sands.
In a report entitled “Forecast for Tomorrow,” the development charity has highlighted both good and bad business practices that are being adopted in the UK or by British businesses abroad.
For example, telecommunications giant BT is praised for adopting “one of the most-ambitious targets for reducing emissions of any private sector company or government in the world: cutting 1996 emissions levels by 80 per cent by 2016 (which it is well on the way to meeting, having reduced its emissions by 58 per cent already).”
Shell’s plans to treble investment in the Canadian oil sands is rightly criticized, with Oxfam arguing is three-times more polluting than conventional oil production. The company is singled out in one of the case studies in the report and attacked for espousing green rhetoric at the same time as investing in the tar sands.
Oxfam outlines how “Shell has power and profits – and therefore a huge responsibility to act.” Whereas “renewables need backing on a massive scale” and “Shell has the resources to step up to this challenge; oil sands mark a giant step in the wrong direction, locking the world into a high-emissions future.”
Other companies criticized by Oxfam include E.ON’s for its controversial Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in Kent in the UK, which has been the scene of repeated protests by environmental campaign groups. Oxfam argues it could have the combined carbon output of 30 developing countries.
Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said: “We must switch to low-carbon and greater energy efficiency if we are to begin to stem the devastating impacts of climate change already being felt by millions of poor people around the world, despite them being the least responsible… companies like E.ON and Shell must reconsider their potentially destructive plans.”
You can download the report here.