ShellBOMB – Big Oil CEO Pivots on Carbon: Calls for “Carbon Pricing System”

February 12, 2015

Wall Street Journal:

PLC Chief Executive Ben van Beurden is preparing to offer some criticism of the debate over climate-change policy, and his industry’s approach to it, at a London oil-industry conference on Thursday night.

In a speech — an excerpt of which the Journal obtained — Mr. van Beurden will tell a roomful of oil executives in formal wear that the industry should support policies to curb climate change, including a carbon-pricing system and “a shift from coal to natural gas.”

The solution, Mr. van Beurden says, is for the industry to stop keeping “a low profile on the issue. I understand that tactic,” the speech says, “but in the end it’s not a good tactic.”

“I’m well aware that the industry’s credibility is an issue,” the speech says.

“You cannot talk credibly about lowering emissions globally if, for example, you are slow to acknowledge climate change; if you undermine calls for an effective carbon price; and if you always descend into the ‘jobs versus environment’ argument in the public debate,” Mr. van Beurden plans to say.


“The outcome of the political process is uncertain, but the trends behind it are unmistakeable. Even more than the oil price, these trends will shape the future of the industry over the coming decades. For a sustainable energy future, we need a more balanced debate. ‘Fossil fuels out, renewables in’ – too often, that’s what it boils down to. Yet in my view, that’s simply naive,” he argues.

“Yes, climate change is real. And yes, renewables are an indispensable part of the future energy mix. But no, provoking a sudden death of fossil fuels isn’t a plausible plan,” he adds.

The Shell boss’s comments are likely to be welcomed by those political leaders who feel pressurised by environmentalists over the green agenda but they are likely to lead to criticism over the company’s own record, particularly with regard to its drilling in the Arctic and investments into carbon-heavy tar sands of Canada.

The comments from Van Beurden indicate that the oil industry is beginning to become rattled by those talking about a “carbon bubble” of oil and gas reserves that should be left in the ground, and moves by the Church of England and universities to remove their investments from the large oil and coal extractors.



14 Responses to “ShellBOMB – Big Oil CEO Pivots on Carbon: Calls for “Carbon Pricing System””

  1. […] Alberta Tar Sands project.  Steve Williams is the President and CEO. Williams has now joined Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden, and British Petroleum CEO Bob Dudley, in acknowledging the seriousness of the issue, and calling […]

  2. […] posted on the recent declarations but executives at BP and Shell in regard to climate and a carbon tax.  Last week, Steve William, CEO of Suncor, one of the […]

  3. […] Rex Tillerson’s remarks on a revenue neutral carbon tax from October 2009.(he’s for it, along with most of the other leading oil major execs) Good ideas eventually get […]

  4. […] CEO Rex Tillerson’s remarks on a revenue neutral carbon tax from October 2009.(he’s for it, along with most of the other leading oil major execs) Good ideas eventually get […]

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