Shell worries about climate change, but decides to continue making it worse

Shell Oil released its 2015 annual review last week, and the most surprising thing in it may be how concerned the company is with climate change. It’s hardly what you’d expect from Big Oil, and yet the words “climate change” occur 15 times in the 228 page report. While this may seem minor, it’s a lot more than climate change is discussed by most other oil monsters (Looking at you, Exxon).

Shell, unlike many oil giants, actively acknowledges and even embraces climate action — at least, on paper. “It was encouraging to see governments reach a global climate agreement in Paris in December,” the report reads. “The agreement should now encourage countries to develop policies that balance environmental concerns with enabling a decent quality of life for more people.”

Sounds great, right? But before you get too excited about the prospect of Shell transitioning to a solar company, they go ahead and ruin it: “We know that understanding the world’s future energy needs will help us improve our competitiveness. We have evolved over the last few decades from a company focused almost entirely on oil to one of the world’s leading suppliers of gas, the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon.”

While that may be true that gas is the “cleanest-burning hydrocarbon,” it’s still a hydrocarbon. Not only that, our means of extracting natural gas — fracking — is linked to cancer, earthquakes, and contaminated groundwater.

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