msnbc.msn.com: Shell executive: Climate needs shift from oil: Governments, with public support, need to make the change: “Oxburgh’s remarks earned Shell a backhanded comment from the executive director of Greenpeace UK, Stephen Tindale, who described the company as “the least unprogressive of the oil majors” on climate change.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 27 Jan 05
LONDON - Sounding more like an environmentalist than an executive, the chairman of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in Britain said Tuesday that governments should push society towards a world less dependent on fossil fuel given the potentially “disastrous” consequences of climate change.
Ron Oxburgh added that governments needed to act to make renewable and less environmentally harmful energy sources more economical compared to hydrocarbons.
Shell, the world’s third largest oil and gas company by market capitalization, is ready to adapt to any new legislation, he told a conference here organized by Greenpeace.
“Shell is an energy company and I would be very surprised if Shell were doing business in the same way in 30 years time as it is today ... It’s difficult to see why big business should be frightened,” Oxburgh said.
Targeting carbon dioxide
The burning of fossil fuels appeared to be causing global warming, Oxburgh added, and this posed a potentially disastrous risk to the world.
He urged governments in developed countries to introduce taxes, regulations or plans such as the European Union trading scheme to increase the cost of emitting carbon dioxide, a gas many scientists tie to global warming.
In doing so, he added, technologies such as biofuel, carbon sequestration, the use of hydrogen as a fuel and wave power would displace the use of oil, gas and coal.
“None of these is going to happen if the market is left to itself,” said Oxburgh, who is due to step down when Shell merges its Dutch and UK holding companies in June.
Oxburgh said he believed government action depends on public support for normally unpopular moves such as making automobile use more expensive.
'Our choice' for change
“It’s our choice whether we use hydrocarbons or not,” said Oxburgh, who uses a bike to get around London.
Shell’s strategy for coping with tougher laws and taxes on using oil and gas is to gain expertise in the various environmentally friendly technologies that might play a role in meeting future energy needs, he added.
Oxburgh’s remarks earned Shell a backhanded comment from the executive director of Greenpeace UK, Stephen Tindale, who described the company as “the least unprogressive of the oil majors” on climate change.
Tindale said the former leader on the green front among the oil majors, BP, had fallen behind following its takeover of Amoco in 1998.