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Demonstrators outside Central Hall, Westminster, London, as the petroleum giant Shell are holding its annual general meeting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Stefan Rousseau / PA Images via Getty Images

Climate protesters disrupted Shell’s annual general meeting in London Tuesday, interrupting it for around three hours.

However, in the end a majority of shareholders backed the company’s climate plan over the more ambitious plan proposed by activist shareholder group Follow This.

Climate protesters disrupted Shell’s annual general meeting in London Tuesday, interrupting it for around three hours.

However, in the end a majority of shareholders backed the company’s climate plan over the more ambitious plan proposed by activist shareholder group Follow This.

“Today’s voting results are a loss in the fight against the climate crisis,” Follow This founder Mark van Baal said in a statement. “Today, everybody loses except the board of Shell, who will hang on to fossil fuels investments for another year and continue to fuel the climate crisis with their outdated business model.”

Shell’s shareholders were gathered at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, The Guardian reported. The shareholders assembled to choose between distinct climate change strategies, according to Reuters. 

Shell aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including the emissions from its products once they are sold. However, it has appealed a Dutch court ruling mandating that it set an earlier target of cutting lifecycle emissions by 45 percent by 2030 in order to be in line with the Paris agreement.

Shell maintains that its existing plan does conform to the landmark climate agreement, but Follow This disagrees, saying that it does not move quickly enough. 

“Shell’s target to reduce the net carbon intensity of its products [Scope 3] by 20% by 2030 will not deliver absolute emission reductions to achieve the Paris goals,” van Baal said in a statement. “Moreover, Shell doesn’t plan to shift investments substantially away from fossil fuels to renewables and plans to increase natural gas production.”

In the end, Shell’s plan passed with around 80 percent of the votes, nine percent fewer than in 2021, according to Reuters. The Follow This plan received 20 percent of votes, 10 percent fewer than the year before. However, Follow This also noted that votes against Shell’s plan rose from 11 percent last year to 20 percent this year.

Shell faced external opposition as well, as around 40 protesters attended the meeting as shareholders, The Guardian reported. 

“We will expose you. We know who you are. We know what you have done. We will remember,” the protesters told the board, as The Guardian reported. 

Protests were also held outside the meeting venue throughout the morning. 

The fossil fuel company said it supported the right to protest, but did not agree with the tactics of activists who disrupted the meeting and glued themselves to chairs.

“We respect the right of everyone to express their point of view and welcome any engagement on our strategy and the energy transition which is constructive. However, this kind of disruption at our AGM is the opposite of constructive engagement,” the company said in a statement reported by The Guardian. “We agree that society needs to take urgent action on climate change. Shell has a clear target to become a net zero emissions business by 2050.”

In the end, Shell chairman Sir Andrew Mackenzie asked all non-demonstrating shareholders to leave the main meeting room for lunch while the protesters were cleared. A total of three people were arrested. 

Demonstrator Aidan Knox explained the activists’ motives to Reuters.

“We’re here to embarrass them and hold them to account,” Knox said. 

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A boy carries water bottles during a heatwave in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on May 17, 2022. FAROOQ NAEEM / AFP via Getty Images

The climate crisis made the heat wave that took lives and smashed records in India and Pakistan this spring around 30 times more likely. 

That’s the conclusion drawn by an international team of scientists from World Weather Attribution, who use a peer-reviewed method to determine the role of the climate crisis in extreme weather events. In a report released Monday, they found that the heat wave would have been around a full degree Celsius cooler before the industrial era. 

The climate crisis made the heat wave that took lives and smashed records in India and Pakistan this spring around 30 times more likely. 

That’s the conclusion drawn by an international team of scientists from World Weather Attribution, who use a peer-reviewed method to determine the role of the climate crisis in extreme weather events. In a report released Monday, they found that the heat wave would have been around a full degree Celsius cooler before the industrial era. 

“Climate change is a real game changer when it comes to heat waves,” report co-author and Imperial College London climate scientist Friederike Otto told The New York Times. “It’s really a major factor.” 

The period of prolonged heat gave India its hottest March since record-keeping began 122 years ago, according to the report. Pakistan, meanwhile, saw the world’s highest March temperature anomaly. The month was also unusually dry, with 62 percent less rainfall than normal in Pakistan and 71 percent less rainfall in India. The hot, dry weather continued into April, impacting 70 percent of India by the end of that month. And so far, May has brought no relief. 

“High temperatures are common in India and Pakistan, but what made this unusual was that it started so early and lasted so long,” study co-author Krishna AchutaRao of the Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi told USA TODAY.

Determining the likelihood of such a rare event was made difficult by the fact that in-depth temperature records for both countries only go back to 1979, the report authors said. They combined this data-set with one in India dating back to 1951 to determine that the heat wave was a one-in-100 year event. They then compared on-the-ground observations with 20 climate models to determine that the climate crisis made the event around 30 times more likely; however, they acknowledged this figure might be conservative.

Indeed, the UK’s Met Office calculated earlier this month that the climate crisis made the heat wave more than 100 times more likely. Otto told The Washington Post that this was within the range of uncertainty for the more recent study.

The study also serves as a reminder of the human impacts of the climate crisis. While its full toll is yet unknown, the heat wave has already claimed at least 90 lives, triggered glacial flooding in Pakistan, fueled wildfires in India, forced India to go back on its plan to bolster global wheat supply in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and deprived millions of power.  

There is an environmental justice component to these impacts, since the high heat is most felt by people like vendors and farmers who are forced by economic necessity to work outdoors.

“Thousands of people in this region, who, to begin with, contributed very little to global warming, are now bearing the brunt of it and will continue to do so if emissions are not significantly cut globally,” study co-author Arpita Mondal of the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai told USA TODAY. “This is a sign of things to come.”

Indeed, the study authors calculated that a heat wave like this would become two to 20 times more likely and 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter in a world two degrees warmer or more. While reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential to protect people worldwide from worsening heat waves, the study authors also noted that adapting to temperature extremes can save lives.

“The main message to take away here [is] that adaptation to heat has been the absolute essential thing to do in life in every part of the world, really, but especially also in this part of the world,” Otto told The Washington Post. 

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Methane flares near a well in the Bakken Oil Field. Orjan F. Ellingvag / Corbis via Getty Images

Many governments, companies, organizations, and individuals are working to help limit global warming to 1.5°C by minimizing carbon footprints and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But a new study warns that failure to reduce emissions across the board, including methane, hydrofluorocarbons, soot, and other short-lived climate pollutants will cause humanity to miss not only the 1.5°C goal but could also contribute to 2°C of warming by 2050.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outlined that short- and long-term actions must address both carbon and non-carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic warming.

Many governments, companies, organizations, and individuals are working to help limit global warming to 1.5°C by minimizing carbon footprints and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But a new study warns that failure to reduce emissions across the board, including methane, hydrofluorocarbons, soot, and other short-lived climate pollutants will cause humanity to miss not only the 1.5°C goal but could also contribute to 2°C of warming by 2050.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, outlined that short- and long-term actions must address both carbon and non-carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic warming.

The researchers used climate models to project global warming consequences with only decarbonization methods and found that a focus solely on carbon emissions actually led to an increase in warming. According to the study, a combination of emissions reduction strategies would keep warming below 2°C, while decarbonization only would lead to warming above 2.0°C by 2045.

This is not the first study to identify short-lived climate pollutants as a major problem. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2018 report also noted non-carbon dioxide emissions as a contributor to warming.

“Non-CO2 emissions contribute to peak warming and thus affect the remaining carbon budget. The evolution of methane and sulphur dioxide emissions strongly influences the chances of limiting warming to 1.5°C,” the report explained. “In the near-term, a weakening of aerosol cooling would add to future warming, but can be tempered by reductions in methane emissions.”

A more recent report from the IPCC was less clear on the importance of reducing short-lived climate pollutants, focusing more on long-term warming and carbon emissions, despite rapid short-term warming influenced heavily by non-carbon sources. The study authors want to draw more attention to both short- and long-term warming as well as both decarbonization efforts and mitigation tactics for other greenhouse gases.

“If you’re going to pass one and a half degrees in 10 years, and then you are going to pass two degrees in about 25 years, that’s what we need to focus on,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, study co-author and an atmospheric and climate sciences professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as reported by Inside Climate News. “We need to cut the short-lived pollutants so that there are no short-term catastrophes in the next 25 years, without losing track of the long term.”

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