Royal Dutch Shell

Shell Forced to Retract "Misleading" Fracking Adverts in South Africa

The gas industry has finally received the slap on the hand it deserves for parroting the outdated refrain: “there are no instances of documented water contamination from hydraulic fracturing.” In South Africa, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ordered oil and gas giant Shell to withdraw claims about shale gas drilling, after the authority found the company guilty of propagating misleading information in several newspapers.

The Karoo region of South Africa has become an international target for unconventional gas producers since its vast shale gas deposits were discovered in recent years. The rush to drill created a wave of public concern, after reports of fracking disasters, including water contamination, well blow-outs and explosions, have become commonplace across America. The government has called for a delay in granting drilling permits until a full-scale study is completed to address mounting concerns.

Looking to sway public opinion, Shell published numerous full-page public relations adverts in local newspapers, claiming that hydraulic fracturing is used in 90% of gas wells and has never caused water contamination.

‘Energy In Depth’ Was Created By Major Oil and Gas Companies According to Industry Memo

Update 11:35am PST: IPAA link is broken again, so use this link to view the memo.

Update 9:48am PST: It looks like the IPAA link works again. Here is the original link. In case similar access issues arise, I will continue to host the document at DeSmogBlog.

*Update 9:03am PST: It appears IPAA may have removed the memo from its website today in the wake of this report, so I have attached it to this post as a PDF and updated the links in the post so the memo is available for the world to see.

DeSmogBlog has uncovered an industry memo revealing that ‘Energy In Depth’ is hardly comprised of the mom-and-pop “small, independent oil and natural gas producers” it claims to represent.  In fact, the industry memo we found, entitled “Hydraulic Fracturing Under Attack,” shows that Energy In Depth “would not be possible without the early financial commitments” of major oil and gas interests including BP, Halliburton, Chevron, Shell, XTO Energy (now owned by ExxonMobil), and several other huge oil and gas companies that provided significant funding early on and presumably still fund the group's efforts.

According to the 2009 memo, Energy In Depth was orchestrated as a “major initiative to respond to…attacks” and to devise and circulate “coordinated messages” using “new communications tools that are becoming the pathway of choice in national political campaigns.”

Energy In Depth (EID) is featured in the news a lot these days, chiefly for attacking the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, but also for its extensive efforts to malign the excellent reporting done by ProPublica, the Associated Press and other outlets. EID seems to attack everyone who attempts to investigate the significant problems posed by hydraulic fracturing and other natural gas industry practices that have been shown to threaten public health and water quality across America.

Is Climate Denial Corporate Driven, or Ideological?

UPDATE: After posting this, I realized that the idea that climate denial is ideological, rather than corporate driven, is also the explicit and central argument of Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt. There was no intention to slight them–it’s just that I’d read Dunlap and McCright more recently, so their work was at the front of my mind. I’ve added a reference below, and my apologies to Oreskes and Conway.

Recently, I’ve been reading some research by Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at Oklahoma State University who collaborates frequently with Aaron McCright, another sociologist at Michigan State. Together, they’ve done penetrating work on the right wing resistance to climate change science in the US, and in particular, on the role of conservative think tanks in driving this resistance.

In a series of 2010 papers, however, I’m detecting a theme that runs contrary to what many often assume about the driving forces of climate denial. It is this: McCright & Dunlap argue that while corporate interests may once have seemed front-and-center in spurring resistance to climate science, at this point it’s becoming increasingly apparent that ideological motivations are actually the primary motivator. Or as they put it: “conservative movement opposition to climate science and policy has a firm ideological base that supersedes the obvious desire for corporate funding.”

Oil Supermajors Desperately Chasing a Tar Sands Pipe Dream

The six major oil companies that for decades enjoyed phenomenal profits and power over the world’s oil supply now find themselves fighting over the dirtiest and most dangerous oil left - Alberta’s climate-wrecking tar sands and the dangerous deepwater deposits in the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and other difficult to reach areas. Geoff Dembicki reports today in The Tyee that the oil supermajors once known as the “Seven Sisters” now control a tiny fraction of the world’s dwindling oil reserves - just seven percent - while state-owned oil companies and national governments control 93 percent.

That shift in power has left the six Anglo-American oil majors sparring fiercely for control of the remaining dregs to feed our oil addiction.  Dembicki writes that:

“aggressive oil sands development appears to be one of the few viable growth strategies left for ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Chevron. These six energy giants are among the top-earning private companies on Earth. Yet their continued corporate existence, at least in its current form, is far from assured.”

In their race to the bottom, these six oil companies are all vying for control of Canada’s dirty tar sands. Dembicki notes that:

“all the supermajors own – or plan to develop – huge operations in Alberta’s oil sands. Canada is one of the few countries left on Earth offering unbridled private sector access to major known oil reserves (in this case, the planet’s second-largest).”

Shell Oil Behind London Science Museum Decision to Take Anti-Science Stance on Global Warming?

The Times of London reports that the London Science Museum has decided to change its position from promoting understanding of the science of global warming to one that they deem “neutral” in their climate science gallery. And by neutral they mean a stance at odds with the widely accepted science on climate change.

‘The Angry Mermaid Award’ - Vote On The Worst Industry Lobbyists Killing Climate Action

Citizens from around the world will convene in Copenhagen next week for the COP15 U.N. climate conference, ready to voice their frustration at the slow pace of global action to address climate change. Friends of the Earth International recently launched ‘The Angry Mermaid Award,’ inviting everyone to vote for the worst corporate lobbyists who are primarily responsible for obstructing progress toward a global agreement.

Copenhagen is home to The Little Mermaid statue, a Danish landmark honoring Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale character. In Andersen’s tale, the Little Mermaid saves the life of a shipwrecked prince and then risks her voice and tail to win his love. If the prince chooses another bride, she is destined to turn into sea foam and disappear forever.

The Angry Mermaid Award is designed to shine a spotlight on the worst industry lobbyists whose actions have done the most to cripple international action on climate change, a delay which now risks unleashing climate chaos. In this real life story, it won’t be a fictional mermaid who disappears beneath the sea forever - it will be low-lying island nations like the Maldives

Lobbyists for polluting industries have worked tirelessly to block effective action, while also seeking every possible way for their corporate clients to benefit from any agreement the nations of the world manage to reach eventually.

Cast your vote in the Angry Mermaid Award today and help decide which company or lobby group is doing the most to sabotage effective action on climate change.

George Monbiot cuts through Shell Oil's PR spin

Here’s a great video interview with Guardian columnist George Monbiot and Jeroen van der Veer, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell.  The spin and bafflegab is almost too painful to watch. We need more reporters like Monbiot that push hard and ask the right questions.


Shell's Greenwashing Advertisements 'misleading'

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered to withdrawal 'misleading' advertising in Holland after the environmental group Friends of the Earth claimed the ads were a case of “greenwashing.”

The ads showing flowers emitting from smoke stacks made the claim that Shell's greenhouse gas emissions were being recycled and used to grow flowers in actual greenhouses. The Dutch Advertising Code Authority stated, “Shell suggests that all of these gases are recycled and that is not the case, so our committee found a misleading environmental claim.”

Do Nothing, Risk Everything

A recent report published in March by the Ethical Funds Company found that out of 48 Canadian oil and gas companies studied, only 2 were responding in any meaningful way to address the risks associated with global warming; Shell Canada and Suncor.

Using a wide variety of sustainability metrics, EFC scored each company to determine how well they are prepared to meet the increasing demand for environmentally and sustainably sound practices in the oil and gas sector as it becomes more and more clear that climate change is a reality and will have a significant effect on operations and investor relations.

Climate Change a Business Opportunity

Shell, which in the course of contributing to global warming posted a $9 billion profit in the third quarter of this year, has just released a report showing that climate change could, in fact, create a market opportunity for British businesses amounting to more than $60 billion over the next 10 years.


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