The Weekend Wonk: Angus Gillespie, Vice President for CO2, Shell

February 28, 2015

In the last few weeks, we’ve seen 2 astonishing announcements, one from the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell (RDS), and one from the Chairman of British Petroleum, acknowledging the problem of climate change, the need for a transition to carbon free energy, and advocating a price on carbon.
I don’t believe these announcements were unrelated – and I expect more developments in this story soon.
A friend has sent a link to a January 12 lecture from the VP for Carbon of Shell, Angus Gillespie.  I posted a short clip of Gillespie on a panel the other day, but here he goes in depth.  Worth a listen as he describes how not just at Shell, but at several major oil companies, there is already an internal carbon  price rolled into plans for any new venture.

This is done to ensure that every part of the organization understands that carbon pricing is coming, is inevitable, and even desirable, as is a transition to non-carbon fuels.


Strong and stable carbon pricing is an essential step to tackle the rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere. The RDS Chairman was present in New York during the recent UN Climate Summit and we were pleased to support the World Bank’s statement on carbon pricing. CCS fitted to power plants, could be a real game-changer, removing up to 90% of carbon dioxide emissions from power generation. CCS is critical to address climate change because it is the only technology that tackles the absolute level of CO₂ in the atmosphere. Other technologies improve efficiency and help to slow down the rate, but not the total volume of CO₂ in the atmosphere.


7 Responses to “The Weekend Wonk: Angus Gillespie, Vice President for CO2, Shell”

  1. andrewfez Says:

    It’s coal versus oil/gas on who gets the privilege of burning the remaining reserves that are considered ‘safe’ to burn before the ‘not safe’ threshold is met.

  2. redskylite Says:

    I am heartened by this news and the presentation from Angus Gillespie, most people are familiar with the oil giants, Shell, B.P, Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, Total, Partex etc etc, but I know little about the coal industry (the only one I’ve ever heard of is Rio Tinto) , I looked to see who owns the most coal reserves (in the U.S) and was surprised to see that the biggest owner of U.S coal reserves (by far) is the U.S government. It would be great if the Oil companies start taking greater accountability for gumming up our atmosphere, but the #1 offender is coal and that is the foremost cause of our historic radiative forcing problem.

    Trouble is I have a feeling the coal industry are not so enlightened as the oil industry, I hope I’m proved wrong in the remainder of my lifetime. – That would be an occasion to celebrate.

  3. indy222 Says:

    $40/ton. They can live with that. But we can’t. Estimates run from $200/ton to $1000/ton of CO2 to clean it back out of the atmosphere. Professor Klaus Lackner’s artificial tree private venture, I believe, was terminated a couple of years ago. I hope it’s still being pursued with research grant funding. With $400/ton carbon tax and some of that funneled to research, maybe we could get such atmospheric CO2 capture ideas tested, perfected, and begin to be deployed. Certainly ending all CO2 emissions is not enough, as numerous studies show this only causes temperatures to level off, not retreat. We can’t afford the temperatures we have NOW, at +0.85C, based on what’s happening in the Arctic and West Antarctica.

  4. balanceact1 Says:

    I heard Angus, along with Lou Allstadt and Mary Nichols speak at Climate One at the SF Commonwealth Club just before Angus talked at Stanford. Angus said that Shell wouldn’t change it business plan at all until there was an actual price on Carbon of $55/ton. Nichols, head of the Calif. air resources board said that California’s Cap and Trade equates to a price of $12/ton of carbon and that would increase to $20/ton in 2020 when that program expires. Lou Allstadt a former VP for Mobil before it merged with Exxon is now a strong advocate for the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. He has personally divested from all fossil fuel stocks.

    After the talk I queried Gillespe on how he could justify the billions of dollars spent looking for new oil and gas deposits when the latest stranded assets study from the University College of London said we had to leave 80% of the coal; 50% of the gas and 30% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground if we were to have a 50/50 chance of not passing 2°C. He said he was glad I hadn’t asked that question on camera..

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: