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Monbiot Grills Shell Oil CEO

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MONBIOT GRILLS SHELL OIL CEO: IS THERE ANY INVESTMENT YOU WOULD NOT MAKE ON ETHICAL GROUNDS?

By George Monbiot, Monbiot.com

Shell will pour big money into alternative energy when more

lucrative opportunities are blocked. Where is the government

brave enough to block them?

http://www.alternet.org/environment/118021/

I asked Mr van der Veer a simple question -- fifteen times. (Only a few of these attempts feature in the edited film). "What is the value of your annual investments in renewable energy?" He waffled, changed the subject, admitted that he knew the figure, then flatly refused to reveal it. Nor could he give me a convincing explanation of why he wouldn’t tell me, claiming only that "those figures are misused and people say it is too small" and it "is not the right message to give to the people." It strikes me that there is only one likely reason for these evasions: that Shell’s spending on renewables has fallen sharply from the figure it announced in 2000. It’s a fair guess that the current investment would look microscopic by comparison to its spending on the Canadian tar sands, and would make a mockery of its new round of advertising. I challenge Shell -- for the 16th time -- to prove me wrong.

Nor would Mr van der Veer give me a straight answer to another straight question: "is there any investment you would not make on ethical grounds?" I asked this six times. He was unable to furnish me with an example. It’s not hard to see why. As well as exploiting the tar sands, which means destroying forest and wetlands, polluting great quantities of water and producing more CO2 than conventional petroleum, Shell is still flaring gas in Nigeria, at great cost to both local people and the global climate. It has been fiercely criticised for its secret negotiations with the Iraqi government, which led last year to the first major access for a western company to Iraq’s gas reserves. It is prospecting for oil in some of the Arctic’s most sensitive habitats. All this makes my question difficult to answer. Aside from the greenwash, it is not easy to spot the practical difference between this civilised, progressive company and the Neanderthals at Exxon.

:smoke2:


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                                               Look at the flowers

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