Shell consultant quits firm over climate change

Caroline Dennett.
Caroline Dennett

A safety consultant at oil and gas giant Shell has stopped working for the firm, as she accused its top executives of failing to protect the environment.

In a post on the professional networking platform LinkedIn, Caroline Dennett said the company is “causing extreme harms to our climate, environment, nature and to people”.

It has drawn over 10,000 likes and has been shared more than 1,200 times. In response, Shell reaffirmed its aim to become carbon neutral by 2050.

This week, Ms Dennett said she had emailed executives and 1,400 employees and contractors at Shell to detail her intentions to leave the firm.

“I can no longer work for a company that ignores all the alarms and dismisses the risks of climate change and ecological collapse,” Ms Dennett wrote.

“Because, contrary to Shell’s public expressions around ‘net zero’, they are not winding down on oil and gas, but planning to explore and extract much more,” she added.

“Net zero” means not adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Achieving it means reducing emissions as much as possible, as well as balancing out any that remain by removing an equivalent amount.

Ms Dennett also urged Shell to “end all new extraction projects immediately and rapidly transition away from fossil fuels, and towards clean renewable energy sources”.

“Shell should be using all its capital, technical and human power to lead this transition, but they have no plan to do this,” she said.

Ms Dennett said she had been a safety consultant at Shell for more than a decade and that her job involved surveying its employees and contractors around the world, with the aim of reducing accidents and oil spills.

She described Shell as a “major client” of her independent business that specialises in safety assessments.

On Wednesday, Shell said it was working towards being net zero company by 2050.

“We have set targets for the short, medium and long term, and have every intention of hitting them,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“We’re already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, although the world will still need oil and gas for decades to come in sectors that can’t be easily decarbonised,” the spokesperson added.

Last November, Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden insisted that the firm would eventually make the transition to net zero. However, he said the company’s plans for greener energy could only be funded by oil and gas.

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