Shell Games: Holding them accountable

Recently the powerful climate NGO ClientEarth took the unprecedented step of filing suit directly against Shell’s Board of Directors on behalf of investors for failing to manage risks posed to the company by climate change and implement an energy transition strategy that aligns with the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, at their most recent shareholder meeting, Shell announced plans to reduce renewables spending while investing more in fossil gas and LNG. So will legal action be able to force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 2), lead blogger and podcaster, Michael Buchsbaum reviews the status of even more lawsuits and legal questions now being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

Wind bad because German, gas good because Polish

In May 2023, the Polish parliament has passed a law that facilitates the construction of biogas plants. The new rules are intended to help smaller towns in particular ensure energy stability and accelerate the transition away from coal. Critics, however, argue that the new law is a case of too little, too late in an agricultural country that would be ideally suited to biogas. Read More

Poland’s answer to the climate crisis: one hundred nuclear reactors

The good news is that Poland is no longer denying or ignoring the climate crisis. The bad news is that it believes the solution to eradicating its 80 percent dependency on fossil fuels – the highest in the EU – is an expansive nuclear energy program. Even the three democratic parties likely to form a new, liberal-minded coalition government, the outcome of the October 15 general election, believe that their country is going nuclear – big time and very soon – by building in total six full-size conventional reactors and as many as one hundred small modular reactors (SMR) in coming years. Paul Hockenos reports. Read More

Shell games: dodging lawsuits and greenwashing charges on both sides of the Atlantic

In 2021, a court in the Netherlands, where Shell was long been headquartered, ordered this leading historical global polluter to drastically change tactics and begin reducing emissions, immediately. Since then, Shell has moved their HQ to the UK and is enjoying record profits while announcing plans to reduce investments in renewables. Undaunted, Civil Society continues taking aggressive action. In February 2023, Global Witness lodged a greenwashing complaint against Shell to U.S. authorities, a tactic also used by NGO ClientEarth. Recently an advertising board in the UK ordered Shell ads off the airwaves for making false environmental claims. How can legal action force Shell to actually change course? In this edition of the Shell Games series (read part 1 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews a few of the mounting legal challenges being brought against this oil and gas behemoth. Read More

In winter 2022-23 Europeans got serious about energy conservation. But can they do it again?

Facing embargoes on Russian fossil fuels and high energy prices, Europe survived last winter largely because of renewable energies, and the hard-nosed scrimping and saving of both Europe’s private sector and citizenry – not because of nuclear power. The continent’s populations hunkered down to conserve energy as never before: turning down heating, switching off non-essential lighting, taking shorter showers, donning heavier sweaters and woollen socks, vacationing closer to home, and insulating windows and doors, among other energy efficiency measures. However, as we will see, it was European industry that really saved the day, writes Paul Hockenos. Read More

The UAE’s unconventional COP

The lead up to what the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hopes will be a pivotal COP28 has been overshadowed by questions about whether the UAE, as a major oil-producing country, is sincerely interested in decarbonization. The debate over the UAE’s chairmanship (and in particular, the chairman himself) has been louder than talk of the topics on the table at this year’s COP. How is the UAE positioning itself to be a decarbonization leader, and are its ambitions to be a climate leader substantiated or merely symbolic? Joelle Thomas takes a closer look.

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From coal to renewables | The Global Energy Transition Podcast

The international response to Russia’s brutal February 2022 invasion of Ukraine has altered and transformed the energy transition, in some ways accelerating the move towards wind and solar generation but also forcing countries dependent on Russian fossil fuels, particularly European nations and the European Union as a whole, to search for and secure alternative supplies.

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Shell games: unearthed docs reveal company’s deep awareness of fossil fuels’ existential risks

The third largest oil and fossil gas producer behind ExxonMobil and Chevron, as late as 2021 Shell and its customers released almost 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than the emissions of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine proved a boon to Shell: on the back of record energy prices, the company reported profits of $39.9bn for 2022, the highest in its 115-year history. But despite heat-trapping emissions skyrocketing along with global thermostats, during their annual earnings call, CEO Wael Sawan announced plans to cut spending on its renewables unit given their thinner profit margins. This comes after a cache of documents published earlier this year prove Shell knew far more about the “greenhouse effect” and the existential threats posed by the burning of fossil fuels than previously revealed — potentially bolstering legal efforts to hold Big Oil accountable for the worsening global climate emergency. In the first of a multi-part series (read part 2 and part 3), lead blogger and podcaster Michael Buchsbaum reviews new revelations around what Shell knew, when it knew it and how it publicly denied its own terrifying data.

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