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Shell is coming under heat this week after the rediscovery of a film the company produced in 1991 that detailed the effects of manmade climate change, the Earth’s natural reaction to the accelerated release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as a direct result of the burning of Shell’s main product – fossil fuels.
The film, deftly named Climate of Concern, warned of extreme flooding, climate refugees and famine as coal, oil and natural gas continued to be burned for their energy output.
The message of the firm was “endorsed by a uniquely broad consensus of scientists in their report to the United Nations at the end of 1990,” the film’s narrator said. “If the weather machine were to be wound up to such new levels of energy, no country would remain unaffected. Global warming is not yet certain, but many think that to wait for final proof would be irresponsible. Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.”
Despite its awareness of the effects of climate change 26 years ago, Shell spent $22 million in 2015 lobbying against policies that protected the environment from carbon emissions. Its investments in green energies have been low compared to the size of its fossil fuel ventures.
Other companies of comparable size and fame have faced scrutiny for their role in either hiding or misleading the public of the scale of risks associated with climate change.
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ExxonMobil faced legal action from the Obama administration after a group of journalism students from Columbia University found evidence that the company worked with the Los Angeles Times to “publicly cast doubt” on the existence of global warning, despite being aware of the research that proved the phenomenon’s progress.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…