Friday, September 1, 2023

"Shell quietly retires its radical plans to shrink its carbon footprint "

From Bloomberg via the Financial Post, August 30: 

A faltering offsets program points to new problems with the corporate world’s favourite 'climate solution' 

Six months after becoming the chief executive officer at Shell PLC, Wael Sawan quietly ended the world’s biggest corporate plan to develop carbon offsets, the environmental projects designed to counteract the warming effects of CO2 emissions.

In an all-day investor event in June, Sawan laid out an updated strategy for the European oil major that included cutting costs and doubling down on profit drivers like oil and gas. As important was what he omitted: any mention of the company’s prior commitment to spend up to US$100 million a year to build a pipeline of carbon credits, part of the firm’s promise to zero out its emissions by 2050.

Those goals for the offsets program have been retired, the company confirmed, along with the plan to harvest a whopping 120 million carbon credits annually by the end of the decade from projects that sequester carbon with trees, grasses or other natural resources, many of which Shell would develop itself. That would have accounted for about 10 per cent of the company’s emissions. It hasn’t made public any new targets for developing offsets or specified how it now plans to deliver on its future climate commitments.

The pullback reflects both Sawan’s renewed commitment to the oil-and-gas business that generates most of Shell’s profits, and an admission that the prior goals were simply unattainable. Over the past two years, Shell barely made a dent. It spent US$95 million, less than half of its initial budget, to build or invest in a portfolio of carbon projects from Western Africa to the Brazilian Amazon to Australian farmlands. They’ve generated few if any offsets, and Shell has struggled to find projects that meet its standards for quality.

It’s a newly damning indictment of offsets, which have become an important if controversial “climate solution” for most big companies: Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates the voluntary carbon market, which today totals around US$2 billion, could grow as high as US$950 billion by 2037....


At that scale, almost a trillion dollars per year, carbon credits are nothing more than a wealth transfer mechanism gussied up in green. There is no way the project packagers could maintain any type of control of the quality of actual carbon removal with that sort of cash-flood.

On the other hand, have I mentioned my Sahara Forest project?