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This Oil Major Says Net Zero Emissions Is ‘The Only Way To Go’

Ben V Beurden

The world needs to get to the point at which it will no longer add to the stock of greenhouse gases, and reducing emissions to net zero “is the only way to go,” Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden said in a speech at The Energy Summit near London, calling on businesses to work together to move faster in addressing climate change.

While admitting that the world still needs oil, and will need it still for decades to come, van Beurden said that the supply and the demand side of the energy use should work together to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to restrict the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

Shell itself aims to reduce the net carbon intensity of the energy products it sells by around 50 percent by 2050, the manager reminded his audience.  

Earlier this year Shell announced its first-ever short-term goals to cut the carbon footprint of its operations and product sales. In December last year, in an industry first, Shell said that it plans to set short-term targets for reducing the net carbon footprint of the energy products it sells, and to link those targets with executive remuneration. 

However, Shell’s core business is and will continue to be oil and gas for the foreseeable future, van Beurden said last fall.   

Speaking today, Shell’s top executive said that the world would still need oil, for the foreseeable future.

“On the energy supply side, a company like Shell can mainly help by selling a mix of energy products with a lower carbon intensity. Oil, yes, the world needs it, and will need it for decades to come. But also, and increasingly, natural gas, renewable power, hydrogen, biofuels,” van Beurden said.

“And while I do not stand here offering the answers on how to get there, I am determined to help find them. What I would like is for Shell to be a part, just a one part, of a much bigger global climate coalition of business. A coalition dedicated to Paris,” the manager said, noting that “if energy providers and energy users, supply and demand, do not take co-ordinated action I have no doubt time will run out.”

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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