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Energy Quote of the Day: Big Oil Addresses Climate Change

Oil Prices Continue To Rise With Demand

This speech is important.

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden says that it is time for the oil industry to join the debate over climate change. Shell has long advocated for a price on carbon, but in a speech Thursday in London he took the message farther by saying:

“Our sector needs to enter into the public debate alongside other credible parties — ranging from academics to non-governmental organizations and policymakers. Together, we can offer some realism and practicality to the debate.

“Climate change is real. And yes, renewables are an indispensable part of the future energy mix. But provoking a sudden death of fossil fuels isn’t a plausible plan.

“The world’s energy needs will underpin the use of fossil fuels for decades to come. So, rather than ruling them out, the focus should remain on lowering their carbon emissions. Three things are crucial to achieving that goal.

“Firstly, a shift from coal to natural gas. When burnt for power, gas produces half the CO2 coal does.

“Secondly, carbon capture and storage. CCS fitted to power plants can be a real game-changer.

“Thirdly, and most importantly, a well-executed carbon pricing system. This would help promote natural gas as well as CCS, and a whole range of other low-carbon technologies.”

Read the entire speech here.

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on February 19, 2015

Ed, there is nothing quotable in Van Beurden’s pitch other than his ridiculous suggestion that someone is advocating the “sudden death of fossil fuels”, or that CCS could be “a real game-changer” when it has yet to offset 1/1000 of global fossil carbon emissions.

The only reason Shell wants in on the debate is they were unable to bury the debate. Now – how does paying lip service to climate change qualify as “addressing” it?

Hops Gegangen's picture
Hops Gegangen on February 20, 2015

 

Perhaps the idea behind what the CEO is saying is that the oil and gas industry needs to join the “war on coal” so as to leave more of the carbon budget for emissions from their products. Given a finite carbon budget, burning coal comes to be seen as profligate spending.

 

 

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on February 22, 2015

@Xoviat, nowhere in IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) does it say CCS must be a game changer, or that there are no other poltically viable options. At best, the report is cautiously optimistic:

Carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technologies could reduce the lifecycle GHG emissions of fossil fuel power plants (medium evidence, medium agreement).

AR5 includes many scenarios which include no CCS at all – probably because it’s highly questionable the technology will be capable of making any significant contribution:

Barriers to large-scale deployment of CCS technologies include concerns about the operational safety and long-term integrity of CO2 storage as well as transport risks.

IPCC completely ignores the issue of verifying compliance, which only adds to uncertainties about CCS’s effectiveness.

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