Shell Oil Asks What Public Is Willing to Do to Reduce Emissions
By Julia Conley
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday denounced the "audacity" of oil giant Shell after it waded into the global discussion about the climate crisis by asking members of the public what they would do to reduce carbon emissions.
"I'm willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire time that fossil fuels emissions would destroy our planet," the New York Democrat and co-sponsor of the Green New Deal legislation replied.
I’m willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire t… https://t.co/0gwuy5P9h5— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1604335470.0
In the poll it posted to Twitter, Shell offered choices to the public including "stop flying," "buy an electric vehicle," and shifting to renewable electricity.
📊 What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions? #EnergyDebate— Shell (@Shell)1604306699.0
Coming from the world's third-largest company, which knew as early as 1988 that its extraction of oil and gas was linked to the heating of the planet, the question was seen by Ocasio-Cortez and other critics as a gross deflection of Shell's own responsibility.
"The audacity of Shell asking YOU what YOU'RE willing to do to reduce emissions," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "They're showing you RIGHT HERE how the suggestion that individual choices—not systems—are a main driver of climate change is a fossil fuel talking point."
The "good choices" American voters and lawmakers can make, the congresswoman added, are ones that will help "reign in fossil fuel corporations" that are actually fueling the destruction of the planet.
The journalism initiative Covering Climate Now called Shell's tweet "a textbook example of greenwashing."
Here’s a textbook example of “greenwashing” + corporations making it seem like climate change is a symptom of every… https://t.co/wL55Zx3yCh— Covering Climate Now (@Covering Climate Now)1604342982.0
Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Texas Tech Climate Center, echoed Ocasio-Cortez's disgust at the company as she noted that out of 90 companies in the world, Shell is the sixth-highest contributor to fossil fuel emissions in history.
"Yes, everyone must do their part—starting with the biggest emitters," Hayhoe tweeted, adding that the company has previously publicly suggested that individuals making changes to their daily habits is what will help save the planet.
Royal Dutch Shell is #6 on the list of 90 companies responsible for 2/3 of greenhouse gas emissions since the dawn… https://t.co/VKnFVwXtBm— Prof. Katharine Hayhoe (@Prof. Katharine Hayhoe)1604338110.0
Shell's tweet drew outrage from international climate action group Greenpeace, international lawmakers, and climate experts.
Hey Shell: you willing to change your entire business model? https://t.co/CnjSBScTFr— Leah Stokes (@Leah Stokes)1604345202.0
You polluted our planet, you funded climate change deniers, you fund the lobby to slow down climate protection laws… https://t.co/zgcXDaVjRA— Michael Bloss (@Michael Bloss)1604343245.0
We’re willing to fight for climate justice and for people not to fall for your dirty tricks, @Shell. Individual cho… https://t.co/s7ZyawxM4V— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1604349037.0
"What am I willing to do?" Hayhoe wrote in reply to Shell's poll question, which she later said was hidden on Twitter by the company. "Hold you accountable for 2% of cumulative global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to those of my entire home country of Canada. When you have a concrete plan to address that, I'd be happy to chat about what I'm doing to reduce my personal emissions."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
- Shell Pipeline Leaks 20000 Gallons of Oil in California's Central Valley ›
- Shell Oil Spill Dumps Nearly 90,000 Gallons of Crude Into Gulf ... ›
- Shell Oil Loses Arctic Drilling Lawsuit - EcoWatch ›
New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.
- Groundbreaking Fossil Shows Prehistoric 15-Foot Reptile Tried to ... ›
- Skull of Smallest Known Dinosaur Found in 99-Million-Year Old Amber ›
- Giant 'Toothed' Birds Flew Over Antarctica 40 Million Years Ago ... ›
- World's Second-Largest Egg Found in Antarctica Probably Hatched ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Pruitt Guts the Clean Power Plan: How Weak Will the New EPA ... ›
- It's Official: Trump Administration to Repeal Clean Power Plan ... ›
- 'Deadly' Clean Power Plan Replacement ›
By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.
- Gorillas in San Diego Test Positive for Coronavirus - EcoWatch ›
- Wildlife Rehabilitators Are Overwhelmed During the Pandemic. In ... ›
- Coronavirus Pandemic Linked to Destruction of Wildlife and World's ... ›
- Utah Mink Becomes First Wild Animal to Test Positive for Coronavirus ›
By Peter Giger
The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.
A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
Cutting Off Circulation<p>As well as devastating low-lying and coastal areas around the world, melting polar ice could set off another tipping point: a disablement to the AMOC.</p><p>This circulation system drives a northward flow of warm, salty water on the upper layers of the ocean from the tropics to the northeast Atlantic region, and a southward flow of cold water deep in the ocean.</p><p>The ocean conveyor belt has a major effect on the climate, seasonal cycles and temperature in western and northern Europe. It means the region is warmer than other areas of similar latitude.</p><p>But melting ice from the Greenland ice sheet could threaten the AMOC system. It would dilute the salty sea water in the north Atlantic, making the water lighter and less able or unable to sink. This would slow the engine that drives this ocean circulation.</p><p><a href="https://www.carbonbrief.org/atlantic-conveyor-belt-has-slowed-15-per-cent-since-mid-twentieth-century" target="_blank">Recent research</a> suggests the AMOC has already weakened by around 15% since the middle of the 20th century. If this continues, it could have a major impact on the climate of the northern hemisphere, but particularly Europe. It may even lead to the <a href="https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10871/39731?show=full" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cessation of arable farming</a> in the UK, for instance.</p><p>It may also reduce rainfall over the Amazon basin, impact the monsoon systems in Asia and, by bringing warm waters into the Southern Ocean, further destabilize ice in Antarctica and accelerate global sea level rise.</p>
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
By John R. Platt
The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.
- Biden Announces $2 Trillion Climate and Green Recovery Plan ... ›
- How Biden and Kerry Can Rebuild America's Climate Leadership ... ›
- Biden's EPA Pick Michael Regan Urged to Address Environmental ... ›
- How Joe Biden's Climate Plan Compares to the Green New Deal ... ›