Oil Change International, Milieudefensie.

September 2022

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This briefing, Shell’s Fossil Fuel Production: Still Pushing The World Towards Climate Chaos, exposes the scale and implications of Shell’s fossil fuel extraction assets and potential expansion plans – and how they conflict with Shell’s obligation under the Dutch court verdict handed down in May 2021 to align its business plans with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In May 2021, the Dutch court ruled that Shell was obliged to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of its activities by 45% below 2019 levels by 2030. This rate of reduction aligns with the scientific imperative to cut carbon dioxide emissions by almost 50% globally within this decade in order to preserve a 1-in-2 chance of holding global warming below or at 1.5 degrees Celsius (°C).

This briefing reveals that since the court’s ruling in May 2021, Shell has taken final investment decisions to develop ten new oil and gas extraction assets, locking in 325 million metric tonnes of additional carbon dioxide emissions, two-times greater than the Netherlands’ total CO2 emissions in 2021. Additionally, we calculate that if Shell develops the more than 750 as yet undeveloped oil and gas assets that it owns stakes in, these projects would cumulatively cause 4.3 billion tonnes (Gt) of additional CO2 emissions, nearly 30 times the CO2 emissions of the Netherlands in 2021.

Shell’s oil and gas extraction activities continue to undermine the world’s chances of curtailing the climate crisis and contradict the court’s directive. If Shell were to stop approving new extraction projects as of September 2022, CO2 emissions caused by burning the oil and gas Shell extracts would be projected to drop by 32% by 2030, relative to 2019 levels. Although stopping new extraction projects would not be enough to meet the court-mandated reduction target for total company emissions of 45% below 2019 levels by 2030, it would be a much needed first step towards aligning Shell’s oil and gas production with the 1.5°C limit.

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