Shell Says Yes (in principle)

Shell will implement recommendations of the G20 Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures to develop a plan for the energy transition to net-zero emissions, in line with the Paris targets.

The world’s second-biggest oil major confirmed it will act on the recommendations of the advisory group led by Michael Bloomberg. Click here for the Shell press release, with rationale from CEO Ben van Beurden and approving comments from the Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

The announcement comes just six weeks after a similar proposal from green shareholders’ campaign Follow This was opposed by management. At Shell’s AGM, Resolution 19 was opposed by management but secured a respectable 6% of shareholder votes with a further (influential) 5% abstentions.

A decision to develop a plan so soon after rejecting a proposal to do just that looks like a U-turn, but in my view is at the same time consistent with Shell’s strategic goals. For a Big Carbon incumbent facing an uncertain future in clean energy, this is a responsible move – and a gauntlet thrown to other oil majors.

Of course, it’s only a commitment to make a plan. But now “the details matter,” said CEO Ben van Beurden. As momentum for cleaner, greener energy moves into the investment world, Shell’s response reflects wider concerns at financial and systemic risk.

A spark in the high-octane politics of carbon.

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