• Atmospheric CO2 /Parts per Million /Annual Averages /Data Source: noaa.gov

  • 1980338.91ppm

  • 1981340.11ppm

  • 1982340.86ppm

  • 1983342.53ppm

  • 1984344.07ppm

  • 1985345.54ppm

  • 1986346.97ppm

  • 1987348.68ppm

  • 1988351.16ppm

  • 1989352.78ppm

  • 1990354.05ppm

  • 1991355.39ppm

  • 1992356.1ppm

  • 1993356.83ppm

  • 1994358.33ppm

  • 1995360.18ppm

  • 1996361.93ppm

  • 1997363.04ppm

  • 1998365.7ppm

  • 1999367.8ppm

  • 2000368.97ppm

  • 2001370.57ppm

  • 2002372.59ppm

  • 2003375.14ppm

  • 2004376.96ppm

  • 2005378.97ppm

  • 2006381.13ppm

  • 2007382.9ppm

  • 2008385.01ppm

  • 2009386.5ppm

  • 2010388.76ppm

  • 2011390.63ppm

  • 2012392.65ppm

  • 2013395.39ppm

  • 2014397.34ppm

  • 2015399.65ppm

  • 2016403.09ppm

  • 2017405.22ppm

  • 2018407.62ppm

  • 2019410.07ppm

  • 2020412.44ppm

  • 2021414.72ppm

  • 2022418.56ppm

  • 2023421.08ppm

News & Views

Shell under fire from investors for banking on delayed transition

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has come under fire for dropping its short-term emission reduction targets, campaigners suggests the firm is anticipating a delayed energy transition.

Shell, historically one of the largest corporate emitters of fossil fuels has released its new Energy Transition Strategy today, including an announcement to lower its 2030 emission reduction target for oil products from 20% to 15-20%.

The new transition strategy no longer mentions a target for 2035, which campaigners interpret as a suggestion that it is scrapping its 45% emission reduction target by 2035 all together.

In order to stay within the targets set out in the Paris Agreement in 2015, global emissions would have to be halved by the end of this decade.

Progress on Scope 3?

A spokesperson for Shell confirmed to Net Zero Investor that the group had indeed “retired” its 2035 target but emphasised that the firm is instead making progress on its efforts to capture part of its Scope 3 emissions which account for the bulk of Shell’s overall carbon emissions.

The firm says it aims to reduce customer emissions from oil products by 15-20% by 2030. According to Shell these emissions, described as Scope 3 Category 11 account for approximately half of its Scope 3 emissions.

A Shell spokesperson argued that a focus on the total carbon footprint was “more meaningful” than a focus on short-term Scope 1 and 2 targets. “We do see a pathaway to support decarbonisation in transport” the spokesperson added.

But Follow This argues that the target has already been in place, it has instead been lowered from a 20% reduction promised two years ago to 15-20% in the recent update.

Banking on delayed transition

Activist shareholders including the campaign group Follow This are interpreting this as a sign that Shell is banking on a delayed transition to renewables.

“This backtracking removes any doubt about Shell’s intentions: the company wants to stay in fossil fuels as long as possible. The board not only endangers the global economy by exacerbating the climate crisis, but also puts the company’s future at risk through policy interventions, disruptive innovation, stranded assets, and accountability for the costs of climate change” warns Mark van Baal, founder of activist shareholder group Follow This.

A number of high-profile investors including the Dutch pension fund PFZW and the Church of England Pensions Board have recently announced their decision to sell their stakes in Shell.

PFZW was also the CA100+ lead investor for Shell, alongside Dutch asset maager MN.

The drive to compete with other oil and gas firms could have been a key motivating factor for the U turn argues Van Baal.

“The new CEO [Wael Sawan] seems to be obsessed by the share valuation gap between Shell and Exxon, and thinks he can close the gap by breaking green promises. However, the main reason for the share valuation gap is not the greenwashing of his predecessor, but the cut in dividend by two thirds after a drop in the oil price during the pandemic” argues Van Baal.

Shell is due to hold its AGM in May 2024. Follow This is again putting forward a climate resolution which this year is backed by a record number of 27 institutional investors including Swedish pension funds AP3 and AP4, alongside UK investors such as DC fund Nest, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Local Government Pension Scheme pools Brunel and London CIV.

More on this:

Dutch Pension fund divests €2.8bn from Shell, BP and other oil firms

Follow This ditches 2030 deadline ahead of Shell AGM

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