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Database Reveals How Much Pollution Big Oil’s Top Execs Are Responsible for Each Year

Read time: 6 mins
Bob Dudley

Thanks to recent analysis, we now know how much of global greenhouse gas emissions big oil companies like Exxon and Shell are responsible for. But it’s easy to forget that behind these corporate behemoths are powerful individuals, making decisions about where the companies should drill next. 

And thanks to a new database, we can now pinpoint how much of the companies’ pollution each executive is accountable for.

Polly Higgins — The Lawyer Taking on Big Oil’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Read time: 7 mins
Polly Higgins

Polly Higgins is a woman on the hunt. And you get the sense that, after decades of working towards holding powerful polluters to account, her prey may finally be in sight.

When you're looking at any crime, you're looking at who are your suspects,” she tells me in a soft Scottish accent that belies the hard truths she regularly delivers. “Within a corporate context, you're looking at CEOs and directors. Within a state context, it is ministers and Heads of State.”

‘All Rhetoric and No Action’: Oil Giants Spent $1 Billion on Climate Lobbying and Ads Since Paris Pact, Says Report

Read time: 7 mins
climate policy grades for five major oil companies

A new report by a British think tank estimates that since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s five largest listed oil and gas companies spent more than $1 billion lobbying to prevent climate change regulations while also running public relations campaigns aimed at maintaining public support for climate action.

Combined, the companies spend roughly $200 million a year pushing to delay or alter climate and energy rules, particularly in the U.S. — while spending $195 million a year “on branding campaigns that suggest they support an ambitious climate agenda,” according to InfluenceMap, a UK-based non-profit that researches how corporations influence climate policy.

This 1980 Shell Chemical Company Publication Outlines Plans to Create 'Grassroots' Campaigns

Read time: 5 mins
Shell TREND publication article

Originally posted on Climate Files.

This 1980 edition of TREND, a bimonthly Shell Chemical Company (Shell) publication, featured a series of articles on issues concerning the company, including: “Emerging techniques for effective corporate response to public issues,” the Chemical Manufacturers Association “Communication Action Plan,” “Individualism,” “Gasohol,” “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on OSHA’s Benzene standards,” and “Chemical feedstocks from synfuels.”

Report: 90 Percent of World’s Largest 200 Industrial Firms Are Using Trade Associations to Oppose Climate Policy

Read time: 7 mins
Big companies are using trade associations to oppose climate action

Nearly all of the world’s largest 200 industrial companies have directly or indirectly opposed climate policy since the landmark Paris Agreement was signed three years ago, according to new research.  

Analysis by InfluenceMap, a UK-based think tank, examined the lobbying activities of 200 of the world’s biggest companies and 75 of the most powerful trade groups and the links between them since December 2015.

It found that 30 percent of all companies analysed have directly lobbied against climate policy in the last three years and that 90 percent of them retain membership to trade associations which have actively opposed climate policy around the world.  

Exclusive: Shell Took 16 Years To Warn Shareholders of Climate Risks, Despite Knowing in Private All Along

Read time: 14 mins
Shell Group managing directors pictured in 1997

It took oil company Shell more than 16 years to directly warn its shareholders that climate policy posed a financial risk to the company's business model despite knowing — in private and for decades — about the relationship between its products and climate change.

Shell started commissioning confidential work about the impact of burning fossil fuels on the global climate as early as 1981. However, analysis by DeSmog UK and DeSmog found that Shell did not start mentioning the possibility of climate change to shareholders in annual reports before 1991 — 10 years after the company started a research stream to study climate change.

What #ShellKnew and How it Was Used to Stall International Climate Change Negotiations

Read time: 7 mins

Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, has gained privileged access to the UN climate change negotiations while pushing the same unworkable solutions for almost 20 years, internal company documents reveal.

DeSmog UK has previously reported on a tranche of documents first unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent published on Climate Files, that reveal Shell knew about the causes and impacts of climate change since at least the 1980s.

Analysis of these documents, combined with new sources freshly uncovered by DeSmog UK, shows that while Shell’s understanding of the science developed, its proposed solution to the problem has remained remarkably static.

Oil Giants Shell and Eni Face Trial in Milan over Bribery Allegations in Biggest Corruption Case Facing Sector in Years

Read time: 4 mins
Shell truck

One of the biggest corruption cases faced by the oil industry in recent years is due to resume in Milan on Wednesday as two of the world’s biggest oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Italian firm Eni are facing trial.

Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against Shell and Eni executives over allegations of corruption regarding a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria.

This is the first time an oil company as large as Shell or senior executives of a major oil company have ever stood trial for bribery offences.

The case, which has been repeatedly delayed, involves the 2011 purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield — one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

What 30 Years of Documents Show Shell Knew About Climate Science

Read time: 8 mins

There can be no mistake: as early as 1981, big oil company Shell was aware of the causes and dangers of climate change.

These documents show Shell walking backwards. In the 1980s it was acknowledging anthropogenic global warming. Then, as the scientific consensus became more and more clear, it started introducing doubt and giving weight to a “significant minority” of “alternative viewpoints” as the full implications for the company's business model became clear.  

By trawling through a tranche of documents first uncovered by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, published on Climate Files, DeSmog UK can chart 30 years of the company’s understanding of climate science.

UN Accused of Promoting 'Greenwash' by Supporting Shell's Solution to Climate Change

Read time: 6 mins
Oil in the Niger Delta

The UN has been called out for acting as a mouthpiece for oil giant Shell in a tweet campaigners have slammed as evidence of the conflict of interest inside the international organisation overseeing global climate policy.

UN Climate, previously known as the UNFCCC, was accused of “greenwashing” after it promoted the oil giant’s vision for how the world can move away from fossil fuels and oil.

In its latest “Sky” scenario, Shell set out its vision on how to limit the global temperature rise to “well below two degrees” compared with 1990 level.

In a series of tweets, UN Climate secretariat, which facilitates global climate negotiations between countries, directly linked and quoted from Shell’s report.

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