On Thursday oil major Royal Dutch Shell outlined the details of its near-term and long-term plans to transition to cleaner energy, saying its oil production and total carbon emissions have already peaked. The announcement comes at a time when the oil and gas industry is under immense pressure to dramatically speed up its plans to pivot away from fossil fuels, amid deep concern about the effects of the climate emergency.
Shell said it aims to reduce net carbon emissions by between 6% to 8% by 2023 when compared to 2016 levels. The target jumps up to 20% by 2030, 45% by 2035, and 100% by 2050. The company had previously only committed to reducing its net carbon emissions by at least 3% by 2022, 30% by 2035 and 65% by 2050, using 2016 as a baseline measure.
“Our accelerated strategy will drive down carbon emissions and will deliver value for our shareholders, our customers and wider society,” Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement. “We must give our customers the products and services they want and need – products that have the lowest environmental impact. At the same time, we will use our established strengths to build on our competitive portfolio as we make the transition to be a net-zero emissions business in step with society.”
Shell said it expected its total carbon emissions to have peaked in 2018 at 1.7 gigatons per annum, and confirmed its total oil production peaked in 2019. Shares of Shell slipped more than 1.1% during morning deals. The United Nations has recognized climate change as the “defining issue of our time,” warning the impacts of everything from shifting weather patterns to rising sea levels are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.