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‘We need action now’ — CSOs write Archbishop of Canterbury over Shell’s climate plan

‘We need action now’ — CSOs write Archbishop of Canterbury over Shell’s climate plan
May 13
20:55 2021

A coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Nigeria has kicked against the planned endorsement of Royal Dutch Shell’s climate and energy plan by the Church of England pensions board.

In a letter to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the CSOs said they are disappointed by the move, and asked the church to instead challenge Shell for its “sins against the people of Niger Delta”.

The pension board had recently said it would vote for Shell’s 2050 carbon emission reduction plan later this year.

Adam Matthews, the board’s chief responsible investment officer, was quoted as saying Shell’s goal is “clear and unambiguous, and Shell is accountable for delivering that target”.

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But in a letter dated May 10, David Ugolor, convener of the CSOs, said they are “extremely disappointed and concerned” about the board’s support for the “cynical” plan of Shell.

“Nigeria has deep experience with Shell, and as representatives of Nigerian citizens’ groups, we wish to tell you that we feel that the company is the opposite of accountable to most Nigerians, and has a track record of misleading statements and commitments,” he said.

“Shell should not be rewarded for setting a long-term ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — we need urgent action now, starting this year.

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“It is not acceptable for the Church to sign off on a Shell plan for this decade that makes no absolute carbon emission reduction pledges, include huge increases in gas production,
and relies on improbably large amounts of tree-planting.

“Indeed, Shell’s rush to find land for ‘nature-based solutions’ might well lead to further carbon colonialism, slavery, and human rights violations in the global south.

“Aiming for net-zero carbon emissions has become another effort by polluting entities like Shell to avoid cutting emissions but rather continue in the harmful practices that drive global warming.”

Ugolor, who is also the executive director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), told Welby that endorsing the plan by Shell is akin to “handing the corporation a right to toy with planetary systems while the poor and vulnerable continue to fight a losing battle against global warming”.

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“With the effects of climate change more visible every year, the future of our children is at stake in Nigeria, Africa, and around the world. We hope that you hear our call, and take urgent
steps to ensure that the church reconsiders its position on Shell,” he added.

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