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Major energy company sparks outrage with 'retrograde step' to repeal key promise: 'No interest in acting for the climate'

It's not alone in its plans to scale back on climate promises.

It's not alone in its plans to scale back on climate promises.

Photo Credit: iStock

Major energy company Shell has dialed back on its pollution-reduction pledge as it prepares to double down on liquified natural gas and continue with business as usual when it comes to oil.

What happened?

Previously, energy company Shell had pledged to reduce the carbon pollution intensity of the energy it sells by 20%, but now it has scaled that back to 15-20%, as reported by the Guardian. Meanwhile, the company plans to grow its liquified natural gas business and keep oil production steady until 2030.

According to the publication, Agathe Masson of Reclaim Finance called the move a "retrograde step" that demonstrates Shell has "no interest in acting for the climate."

Shell is not alone in its plans to scale back on climate promises. In early 2023, British oil giant BP announced that it is backing off from a previous goal to cut carbon pollution by 35-40%, aiming now for 20-30% instead, according to The Washington Post.

Why is the change concerning?

Dirty energy fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas are the largest contributor to rising global temperatures, accounting for almost 90% of carbon pollution and more than 75% of heat-trapping gas pollution, according to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, according to international advocacy group Follow This, big oil companies like Shell and BP can "make or break" the success of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). 

If we fail, scientists predict disastrous consequences, like the melting of Antarctic ice sheets, which will "[contribute] to sea level rise; cause the ocean to become more acidic; and negatively impact crops in some parts of the world," per ABC News. 

Already, there are negative consequences tied to rising global temperatures. For instance, the Amazon region saw a historic wildfire season in early 2024 due to hotter-than-average temperatures and drought. And America's East Coast saw an uptick in reported cases of flesh-eating bacteria in 2023 amid record-breaking heat waves.

What can I do to help?

A number of organizations are working to hold big oil companies accountable for their impact on the planet. Some governments are also working to reduce reliance on dirty energy. For instance, Wales is banning most new roadway projects to cut down on carbon pollution.

You can help by voting for pro-climate candidates. You can also change how you get around to move away from dirty energy. Try walking, biking, or using public transit instead of driving, or invest in an electric vehicle. Or, upgrade your home to clean energy sources

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

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