Irony. You have got to love irony. Just imagine, in a cartoonish kind of way, that there is a climate villain out there defying all logic and reason and hurting the planet at its most vulnerable point.
The evil villain would be Shell, which is defying its critics, climate scientists and many of its shareholders by belligerently drilling for oil in the Arctic, a region which at the front-line of climate change.
For months, the company’s critics have been highlighting the inherent dangers and risks of Shell’s inherent ill-fated Arctic adventure. Greenpeace for one has been protesting against Shell in numerous ways from dropping banners to playing an Arctic Requiem outside the oil giant’s HQ in London as well as online.
The company has been consistently criticised by OCI too about the Arctic. Shell assures us that it can clean up any oil spilt. As I have pointed out before – the only way to respond to this is to say it clearly: that this is a lie. Shell will never be able to adequately clean up an oil spill in the region, unless it never spills a drop of oil.
It is also spending billions searching for oil that can never be safely burnt if we are going to keep global warming to acceptable levels. Indeed as the Guardian has pointed out, in the Arctic: “Shell plans to drill for oil, pulling the detonator on a carbon bomb which eventually could spray 150bn tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
So who better than Shell – which is about to ignite the world’s biggest carbon bomb in the most fragile place susceptible to climate change – to be on a new Commission to advise governments on climate change. Indeed, you gotta love irony.
According to the Financial Times, Shell has teamed up with the management consultants McKinsey and other large companies “to advise governments on how to combat global warming without weakening their economies.”
Shell is joined by BHP Billiton, General Electric, Dow Chemical and Statoil and even two environmental groups to be part of the Energy Transitions Commission which will be unveiled in Texas next week.
Not surprisingly, Shell’s involvement has been questioned. Anthony Hobley, chief executive of Carbon Tracker, said simply: “We question the credibility and independence of any entity set up by energy incumbents with an interest in maintaining the status quo.”