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Speaking at the annual Chatham House climate change conference, keynote speaker Bill McKibben of 350.org said:
I didn’t know Shell was sponsoring this conference when I agreed to do it, but I’m glad for the chance to say in public that Shell is among the most irresponsible companies on earth. When they write the history of our time, the fact that Shell executives watched the Arctic melt and then led the rush to go drill for oil in that thawing north will provide the iconic example of the shortsighted greed that marks the richest people on our planet.
This morning Platform and 350.org picketed the conference venue entrance to protest against Shell’s sponsorship.
The 18th Annual Chatham House Conference on Climate Change boasts speakers from the UNFCCC, UK government, academics, and industry, and advertises itself as “a unique opportunity to network with senior officials from businesses, government, NGO’s and academic institutions”. Shell is the only listed corporate sponsor, alongside Climate and Development Knowledge Network, the Foreign Office, and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Although the conference is held under the Chatham House rule, Bill McKibben’s keynote speech is on record.
Shell has been promoting its climate change commitments in the UK with a massive ad campaign. However, Shell
- was last month accused of funding groups that oppose climate regulation in the US;
- is seeking extension on its drilling leases in the US Arctic waters despite massive public outcry and regulator concerns;
- has taken little action to clean up decades’ worth of pollution in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria;
- relies in its projections on climate and energy supply on oil extraction continuing into the 2050s and reaching new frontier areas, despite it only being safe to extract 1/3 of the world’s proven fossil fuel reserves to have a 50% chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, according to the International Energy Agency.
Anna Galkina of Platform said outside the conference: “Shell’s role today is outrageous. Shell sponsors climate events, universities, and art galleries in order to prevent real climate action: leaving fossil fuels in the ground. Why are the people profiting from climate change celebrated as corporate sponsors, while the frontline communities aren’t even invited?”