British-Dutch oil and gas company Shell is planning to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic having a serious impact on people’s health and our economies, these are extraordinary times,” said Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell. “Yet even at this time of immediate challenge, we must also maintain the focus on the long term. Society’s expectations have shifted quickly in the debate around climate change. Shell now needs to go further with our own ambitions, which is why we aim to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner. Society, and our customers, expect nothing less.”
Furthermore, Shell plans to accelerate the company’s net carbon footprint ambition to be in step with society’s aim to limit the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This means reducing the net carbon footprint of the energy products Shell sells to its customers, by around 65 per cent by 2050 (increased from around 50 per cent) and by around 30 per cent by 2035 (increased from around 20 per cent).
“This announcement significantly increases Shell’s ambitions and commitments,” said Adam Matthews, Co-lead as part of the Climate Action 100+ dialogue with Shell. “It is indicative of Shell’s confidence in not only navigating the immediate situation but rightly sets the focus on developing net-zero pathways in key sectors that shape the demand for energy. Ultimately, it will be by developing and supporting net-zero pathways in these sectors that we will achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”
According to the company, each sector will need to find its own way to achieve net-zero emissions but all sectors share the same three ways to make progress. Firstly, by being more energy efficient; secondly, by using lower-carbon energy products; and, thirdly, by storing away emissions that cannot be avoided, either through nature or using the technology that already exists to capture and store away CO2.
Shell can help push progress in all those areas and must pivot over time towards serving the businesses and sectors that, by 2050, are net-zero emissions themselves.