Home / news / After Shell CEO Claims ‘We Have No Choice’ But to Invest in Fossil Fuels, McKibben Says, ‘We Have No Choice But to Try and Stop Them’

After Shell CEO Claims ‘We Have No Choice’ But to Invest in Fossil Fuels, McKibben Says, ‘We Have No Choice But to Try and Stop Them’

After Shell CEO Claims ‘We Have No Alternative’ However to Put money into Fossil Fuels, McKibben Says, ‘We Have No Alternative However to Attempt to Cease Them’

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26 comments

  1. Name is Ben van Beurden by the way, and his salary is just a bit over 17 million.

  2. Carbon-fuel companies have spent decades and billions lobbying tooth and nail to prevent meaningful action against unsustainable oil and coal consumption despite knowing fully well, and being among the first to truly realize, the existential danger that carbon-induced climate change represents. They are enemies of humanity and at this point no option is unjustified in stopping them.

    *Either we destroy them or they destroy us.*

  3. Fucking Shell CEO piece of shit

  4. Both are right. We cannot rely on corporations to do things out of the goodness of their hearts. They literally have no choice but to maximize shareholder value.

    On the other hand, it is our responsibility (through voting, legislation, protesting, boycotting, etc.) to stop them. But mainly legislation and heavy taxes, other means can raise awareness but won’t do anything to stop them.

  5. “But the real endpoint here is war. Because what do you think is going to happen when hundreds of millions of refugees are fleeing from the tropics? There’s going to be war. And we haven’t had war here since the 1940’s – not a big war. But it’s coming back.

    So my suggestion to you is, when you’re talking to the good people of Penzance and West Cornwall, don’t talk about the polar bears, right? Talk about social collapse. Talk about the welfare payments. Talk about the food in Tesco’s -not being there. And talk about their kids being sent off to be slaughtered. Becuase that’s what the climate crisis means, long before London and the global cities are flooded with water, which is now locked in.”

    Roger Hallam, [Time to Act Now](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_g3zoL8TFU&t=25m15s)

    The people terrorizing the world are the ruling classes who’re leading us, our children, and life on Earth to our deaths through criminal inaction on the climate and ecological crisis. When the leaders have abdicated the responsibility for the safety of the people and posterity, they have lost all legitimate right to lead. That’s why we rebel.

    “Voting for what is right is doing nothing for it, except expressing feebly your desire that it should prevail” -Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

    So by all means, sign the petitions! March! Vote!

    We need absolutely every form of nonviolent resistance to ecocide that we can muster. But to put all our faith in the system that’s led us to the brink of ecological annihilation is to put none in ourselves- it’s the same suicidal inaction that will doom us.

    And if you really want to be effective, lose your fear of engaging in [NON-VIOLENT, MASS-PARTICIPATION CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE](https://www.rogerhallam.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Common-Sense-for-the-21st-Century_by-Roger-Hallam-Download-version.pdf)!

    The youth have far, far, more power than they realize. But it will take much more than merely speaking truth to power. When we’ve learned to let go of our fear of breaking the law, peacefully, nonviolently, when we lose our fear of being punished, our fear of losing our privileges, we’ll find the freedom and the power together to make radical change happen.

    Watch [The Children’s March](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT-QkNkMZjk&t=1s) on youtube.

    In Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 [4000 schoolchildren defied the racist police state nonviolently, facing arrest, prison, riot police, and attack dogs and brought down segregation in 2 weeks](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT-QkNkMZjk&t=1s). By the end, the police had lost control- thousands of children were singing and laughing in prison, thousands were running free through the streets of Birmingham. The police chief stated: “No way to keep a lid on this. The fear is gone.”

    When the fear goes, radical political change happens.

    Just a couple months ago, [100,000 ordinary Americans brought down their corrupt executive by nonviolently and illegally occupying the streets of their capital city continuously for 12 days and refusing to leave until the executive resigned](https://www.vox.com/2019/7/24/20703901/puerto-rico-protests-governor-resigns).

    Our greatest fear is not our fear of the powerful- our greatest fear is the fear of *our own power*.

    “The fundamental thing that has come out of the social science is: if you want to rapidly change the political direction of a society in the shortest amount of time, there’s one way to do it- and that way is mass participation civil disobedience.”

    -Roger Hallam, [The Time to Act Is Now](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_g3zoL8TFU&t=2418s)

    We have the power **today** to end the criminal inaction of the ruling classes on the climate and ecological crisis that is leading us and our children and life on Earth to our deaths- if only we choose to embrace it.

  6. > A defiant van Beurden rejected a rising chorus from climate activists and parts of the investor community to transform radically the 112-year-old Anglo-Dutch company’s traditional business model.

    You know what would stop them? [Changing the economic incentives](https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/07/12/201502003/episode-472-the-one-page-plan-to-fix-global-warming).

    The consensus among [scientists](http://bush.tamu.edu/istpp/scholarship/journals/ClimateScientistsPerspectives_ClimaticChange.pdf) and [economists](http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf) on [carbon pricing](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_price)^§ to mitigate climate change is similar to [the consensus among climatologists](http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/) that human activity is responsible for global warming. Putting the price [upstream](https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323611604578396401965799658) where the fossil fuels enter the market makes it simple, easily enforceable, and bureaucratically lean. Returning the revenue as an equitable dividend [offsets any regressive effects of the tax](http://www.nber.org/papers/w9152.pdf) (in fact, [~60% of the public would receive more in dividend than they paid in tax](http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0081648#s7)) and allows for a higher carbon price (which [is what matters for climate mitigation](https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/S201000781840002X)) because [the public isn’t willing to pay anywhere near what’s needed otherwise](http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/Is-the-Public-Willing-to-Pay-to-Help-Fix-Climate-Change-.aspx). Enacting a [border tax](http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2026879) would protect domestic businesses from foreign producers not saddled with similar pollution taxes, and also [incentivize those countries](http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/handle/205761) to enact their own. And [**a carbon tax is expected to spur innovation**](https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190827111120.htm).

    [Conservative estimates](http://rdcu.be/cLYO) are that failing to mitigate climate change will cost us 10% of GDP over 50 years, [starting about now](http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf). In contrast, carbon taxes may actually *boost* GDP, if the revenue is [returned as an equitable dividend to households](http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jun/13/how-revenue-neutral-carbon-tax-creates-jobs-grows-economy) (the [poor tend to spend money when they’ve got it](http://www.econ2.jhu.edu/people/ccarroll/papers/cstwMPC.pdf), which [boosts economic growth](https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1513.pdf)) not to mention [create jobs](https://econ.ucalgary.ca/manageprofile/sites/econ.ucalgary.ca.manageprofile/files/unitis/publications/1-7729354/Yamazaki_CarbonTax_JEEM_2017.pdf) and [save lives](https://globalchange.mit.edu/news-media/jp-news-outreach/shift-renewable-electricity-win-win-statewide-level).

    Taxing carbon [is in each nation’s own best interest](http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2015/wp15105.pdf) (it [saves lives at home](https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09499-x)) and [many nations have already started](https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/29687/9781464812927.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y), which [can have knock-on effects in other countries](http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf). In poor countries, [taxing carbon is progressive even *before* considering smart revenue uses, because only the “rich” can afford fossil fuels](https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_summary-for-policymakers.pdf) in the first place. We [won’t wean ourselves off fossil fuels without a carbon tax](http://news.mit.edu/2016/carbon-tax-stop-using-fossil-fuels-0224), the [longer we wait to take action the more expensive it will be](http://rdcu.be/cZjG). Each year we delay costs [~$900 billion](https://cla.umn.edu/heller-hurwicz/news-events/news/policy-brief-calibrating-price-climate-risk).

    [It’s the smart thing to do](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095069698910580), and the IPCC report made clear [pricing carbon is **necessary** if we want to meet our 1.5 ºC target](https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/sites/2/2018/12/SR15_TS_High_Res.pdf).

    Contrary to [popular belief](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluralistic_ignorance#Examples) the main barrier isn’t lack of public support. But [we can’t keep hoping others will solve this problem for us](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_responsibility). We need to take the necessary steps to make this dream a reality:

    [**Lobby**](https://citizensclimatelobby.org/join-citizens-climate-lobby/?tfa_3590416195188=reddit-CarbonTax&utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=CarbonTax) for the change we need. [Lobbying works](https://sociology.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/friends_or_foes-how_social_movement_allies_affect_the_passage_of_legislation_in_the_u._s._congress.pdf), and you [don’t need a lot of money to be effective](http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.1016.1967&rep=rep1&type=pdf) (though it does help to [educate yourself on effective tactics](http://www.congressfoundation.org/storage/documents/CMF_Pubs/cmf-citizen-centric-advocacy.pdf)). If you’re too busy to go through the [free training](https://citizensclimatelobby.org/new-member/#climateadvocatetraining), sign up for [text alerts](https://citizensclimatelobby.org/text/) to join coordinated call-in days ([it works](http://www.congressfoundation.org/storage/documents/CMF_Pubs/cmf-citizen-centric-advocacy.pdf)) or set yourself a monthly reminder to [write a letter](https://www.ted.com/talks/omar_ahmad_political_change_with_pen_and_paper?language=en) to your elected officials. According to NASA climatologist and climate activist [Dr. James Hansen](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen), becoming an [active volunteer with Citizens’ Climate Lobby](https://citizensclimatelobby.org/join-citizens-climate-lobby/?tfa_3590416195188=reddit-CarbonTax&utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=CarbonTax) is [the most important thing you can do for climate change](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4DAW1A6Ca8), and [climatologist Dr. Michael Mann](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_E._Mann) calls its [Carbon Fee & Dividend](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fee_and_dividend) policy [an example of sort of visionary policy that’s needed](https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/06/03/climate-change-requires-collective-action-more-than-single-acts-column/1275965001/).

    § The IPCC (AR5, WGIII) [Summary for Policymakers](https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_summary-for-policymakers.pdf) states with “high confidence” that tax-based policies are effective at decoupling GHG emissions from GDP (see p. 28). [Ch. 15](https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter15.pdf) has a more complete discussion. The U.S. [National Academy of Sciences, one of the most respected scientific bodies in the world, has also called for a carbon tax](https://www.nap.edu/download/21712). According to [IMF research](https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/05/how-much-does-world-subsidize-oil-coal-and-gas/589000/), most of the $5.2 trillion in subsidies for fossil fuels come from not taxing carbon as we should. There is general agreement among economists on carbon taxes whether you consider [economists with expertise in climate economics](http://policyintegrity.org/files/publications/ExpertConsensusReport.pdf), [economists with expertise in resource economics](http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.381.484&rep=rep1&type=pdf), or [economists from all sectors](https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Doris_Geide-Stevenson/publication/261884738_Consensus_Among_Economists-An_Update/links/56a7f3fa08ae860e0255a8e3.pdf). It is literally [Econ 101](http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ101/herriges/Lectures10/Chapter%2017H%20-%20Externalities.pdf). The idea [won a Nobel Prize](http://environment.yale.edu/news/article/william-nordhaus-wins-nobel-prize-for-economics-of-climate-change/).

  7. >>Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon, we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.

    >>-Gandalf

    >-Michael Scott

  8. Uhhhh, who’s holding the gun to Shell’s head again?

  9. If we succeed in suddenly halting or even restricting fossil fuel consumption, we will unleash terrible human suffering, because it is too late for a smooth transition to a new economy. If we fail, terrible human suffering will ensue, due to continued ravaging of ecosystems and climate dynamics. The better choice, in my opinion, is to do it voluntary, consciously, because we will at least have the consolation of retaining some human dignity, and knowledge that present suffering will lessen the suffering of the next generations.

  10. I think Gas stations would be smart as hell to start installing super fast chargers where they can get some money out of this before it’s too late. I feel like a gas station roof is a perfect place for Solar Panels too! Dedicate a few parking spots to charging stations and get ready for the future where gas powered cars might be a thing of the past.

  11. How about instead of railing against these western oil producing companies, which have complied with decades of increasing environmental regulation resulting in their operating cost increasing greatly, we push the UN and our governments to impose sanctions on all oil companies that do not implement certain environmental regulations for production?

    Shell’s operating cost has resulted in their shares being less attractive to investors than companies that operate in Saudi, Russia, or other countries with NO REGULATION. Fuck, it’s pathetic. All these “environmentalists” are killing companies that are actually trying because of an organized smear campaign by Russia and Saudi Arabia so that they can corner the market, produce oil at twice the carbon footprint, and use the profits to fund genocide.

    All these sanctions on countries for bullshit, while environmental standards would actually make sense and no one talks about it despite it being raised numerous times.

    Ban coal today ————— 25% reduction in greenhouse gases fucking immediately.

    UN mandate that all oil most be purchased from environmentally responsible producing nations and any countries that do not comply face sanctions.

    If Russia and Saudi want to continue selling their oil at a premium then they will adapt to the new market, just like oil companies have in Canada and companies are in the USA.

    Last step, we no longer rely on self reported green house gas emissions. Russia and Saudi Arabia have absolutely no regulatory oversight, and have been known to flare blown out wells to atmosphere for MONTHS and somehow emit less pollution then Canada’s oil industry, which is held to strict “0” emission laws? Ya, you bet. Guess we’ll just take you at your word there Putin…

    This whole discussion is a joke. These so called “environmentalist” are doing everything in their power to end production in the western world, and refuse to even mutter a word about the environmental atrocities committed in the rest of the world. Let me ask you a question, if Canada and USA stopped producing tomorrow would the demand suddenly shrink with it? Or would Russia and Saudi ramp up production and fill the void in the market at a larger footprint?

    Lets start focusing on actual solutions that will have a real impact, and can this unrealistic “stop producing” bullshit.

  12. Love Bill McKibben. I was writing an environmental policy essay during college and took a chance by emailing him a question. He wrote back later that day, much to my surprise, and was thorough and personable. I was able to quote him personally in my paper and the Prof gave me major props for interviewing a major expert.

  13. We are moving towards something better for the world, for the environment, for ourselves, and for the generations that follow. Anyone who ‘can’t stop’ is a stagnant addict.

  14. silly quote taken out of context. Shell provides a good, which WE, the market, demand. And everyones mad that they dont refuse to sell it to us? what a joke. If shell didnt drill the oil, exxon would, or BP, or some new startup, because the free market is not going to refuse to take our money.

    95+% of us are putting gas in our cars, probably bought that gas guzzling car even though a more efficient alternative was available at a similar price. Yet we did it anyway, because horsepower, or cargo, or appearance.

    ​

    99% of us have not installed any solar panels on our homes. We have our thermostats set to 70 summer, 72 winter. drink out of water bottles whenever we are thirsty and its convenient. eat meat 7 days a week without a care.

    ​

    but we sit on the internet and extol our virtue about climate change and how the govt needs to force change, blame corporations for putting profits first

    hypocrites, all of us. Its getting so tired.

    ​

    good for McKibben though, put shell out of business, provide an alternative product that people will actually choose to buy, and the world will thank him. But shell has tried, oil companies have spent more money on alternative bio fuels than anyone, the market doesnt care because it costs an extra nickel, and thats where our passion ends.

  15. His statement is truthful.

    Until we develop alternatives to carbon fuel, particularly in transportation, and deploy those alternatives, we will continue to need to use carbon fuel. This necessarily means that we need to continue to invest in carbon fuels until the demand/need for them declines significantly.

  16. This is the best tl;dr I could make, [original](https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/10/15/after-shell-ceo-claims-we-have-no-choice-invest-fossil-fuels-mckibben-says-we-have) reduced by 91%. (I’m a bot)
    *****
    > Climate activists and experts underscored the necessity of fighting to urgently end the use of fossil fuels worldwide after Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden claimed Monday that "We have no choice" but to invest in long-term oil and gas projects.

    > Shell says it literally can't stop itself from approving 35 new oil and gas projects-we have 'no choice but to invest in oil.

    > Exclusive: No choice but to invest in oil, Shell CEO says – Reuters https://t.

    *****
    [**Extended Summary**](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/dibqg8/after_shell_ceo_claims_we_have_no_choice_but_to/) | [FAQ](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/31b9fm/faq_autotldr_bot/ “Version 2.02, ~434941 tl;drs so far.”) | [Feedback](http://np.reddit.com/message/compose?to=%23autotldr “PM’s and comments are monitored, constructive feedback is welcome.”) | *Top* *keywords*: **Shell**^#1 **Climate**^#2 **oil**^#3 **company**^#4 **more**^#5

  17. Shell meets demand, take the demand away and they will supply whatever the new demand is.

    Every single person bitching on here uses fossil fuels.

  18. You have to do both. Cutting off fossil fuels as a way to force us to use renewables is stupid. Stopping research or implementation of renewables to prolong the use of fossil fuels is stupid. Or just admit you want to kill a few billion people to stop climate change.

  19. The fact of the matter is demand for fossil fuels will grow in aggregate over the next 50 years regardless of any realistic, even hyperaggressive scenario in which use of renewables grow in use. So what the CEO said isn’t wrong.

  20. I’m going to ask an honest question:

    *What is the alternative that we have right now?*

    Solar power and wind can’t keep up with the electrical demand in the United States. Nuclear energy has been gutted by people who don’t understand how clean and safe nuclear energy is – to get a new reactor takes almost a decade, nevermind a whole *plant*. Geothermal and hydro can only be used in limited capacities. Natural gas is cleaner and more efficient than coal, but still an energy source in question.

    Not to mention plastics, lubricants, solvents, and thousands of other materials are made out of petroleum. ExxonMobil for example is one of the top producers of the lubricants that get used in wind-based energy generation. Isn’t that ironic?

    We are still *decades* away from replacing everyday materials with “green” non-petroleum materials.

  21. Why is everybody here attacking Shell so much? They are one of the top five investers in Renewable energy in the world, they are one of the most safety and environmentally conscience oil companies on the planet. They are leading the way installing electric charging stations in most countries. They are an example of how other oil companies should act. If people here hate any investment into Oil and Gas there are far worse companies they should be targeting

  22. I strongly believe that any person, organization (directors etc), or groups assisting them that has intentionally tried to mislead or obfuscate governments/populations regarding climate change for profit should be looked at as having committed sabotage/treason and if found to be guilty be stripped of all assets and imprisoned for an extended term.

    This should be extended internationally and those trying to flee justice should be hunted down and extradited/repatriated.

    The global economy is going to implode anyway, I see no reason why assets gained in this hot tub of bullshit should be allowed to be retained.

  23. He said “so long as the world demands it, we have not choice but invest in it”

    That’s true though.

  24. Cartels: “We have no choice but to invest in drug distribution”

    Everyone: “Okay then.”

  25. As Common Dreams reported in July, “lawsuits that aim to push governments to more ambitiously the address climate emergency and make polluting corporations pay for the damage caused by their sizable contributions to the global warming are growing in popularity around the world.”

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