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On March 14, Shell announced it was scaling back its green targets, insisting that the world will have to keep investing in gas and oil for decades to come. The multinational says it now aims for a 15 – 20 percent emissions’ reduction by 2030, instead of its previous 20 percent target.

The watered-down target was set out in the company’s latest energy transition strategy. It will allow Shell to slow down the pace of emission reductions, despite climatologists warning that this is a crucial decade in averting a climate catastrophe. Shell argues that investment in green energy such as solar and wind is not happening quickly enough to meet growing global demand while fossil fuel energy sources are being lost.

But the move has been widely criticised by environmentalists.

A ‘retograde’ step

Agathe Masson of the campaign group Reclaim Finance, described the move as a “retrograde step,” saying that it once again showed that Shell has “no interest in acting for the climate.”

The announcement is further testimony of the multinational’s hesitancy of transitioning to green energy, which has led to complaints that the £163bn company is not doing enough to tackle climate change.

Wael Sawan, the company’s chief executive, who took up the post in September 2022, has been criticised previously by climate campaigners, for suggesting that cutting the world’s gas and oil production would be irresponsible and dangerous.

Jamie Peters, head of climate at Friends of the Earth, said it was “utterly ironic for Shell to be calling anything ‘dangerous and irresponsible.’”

“Let’s be clear, companies like Shell are fuelling both the climate crisis and the soaring cost of energy. They are profiting from the misery of ordinary people while destroying the planet, and they’re making a cynical case to continue locking us into the volatile fossil fuel markets that are the root cause of the energy crisis,” Peters said.

Concurrent with the announcement of watered down climate targets, was Shell’s annual report. It showed that its chief executive, Wael Sawan, will take home a pay packet worth almost $10m (£7.94m). In 2022, Sawan’s predecessor Ben van Beurden was paid £9.7m.

Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior fossil fuels campaigner at the NGO Global Witness, said:

“Shell’s CEO £8m pay packet is a bitter pill to swallow for the millions of workers living with the high costs of energy. Our reliance on Shell’s dirty oil and gas makes them rich whilst the rest of us get poorer.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

The post Shell under fire for watering down climate change targets, as chief exec to take home pay packet worth almost $10m appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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