Shell Oil Has Promised To Honor A Goal With Only A 5 Percent Chance Of Success

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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A Royal Dutch Shell executive pledged that his company would increase investment in renewable energy while cutting its carbon output in half by 2050, The New York Times reports.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden made the promise when talking to investors Tuesday. He voiced support for the Paris accord goal of keeping Earth from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A July report gave only a 5 percent chance that the Paris Climate Accord’s warming goals could be met, and only if substantial action was taken immediately, The Guardian reports.

“I agree that staying below 2C and 1.5C are unlikely and very, very unlikely, respectively,” Texas A&M University climate scientist Andrew Dessler, who did not take part in the study, told The Guardian. “But this research gives a false sense of rigor.”

“Tomorrow someone could invent a carbon-free energy source that everyone adopts,” Dressler added.

Beurden detailed a few short-term goals, such as spending $2 billion from 2018 to 2020 on renewable energy infrastructures like electric car charging stations.

“It’s good that they are looking in the right direction,” Safe Climate Campaign Director Dan Becker told TheNYT. “They are ahead of their competitors in recognizing that the days of oil dependence are numbered.”

Shell’s stance breaks from the typical oil and gas industry stance that the Paris agreement’s goals are unrealistic and unduly burdensome, Axios reports.

“It also draws a clear line between it and the US majors like Exxon, which has said that it believes a 2 degree goal is so unlikely that it is not worth planning for,” Ceres oil and gas investment director Andrew Logan told Axios in an email. “So the split in the industry continues to widen, with Shell, Statoil and Total actively preparing for a low-carbon future, and Exxon et al doubling down on business as usual.”

Shell joined six other oil and gas companies earlier in November in creating an investment fund to support renewable energy research and development, according to Reuters.

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