Monday, January 8, 2018

Shell and Climate Change

Updated August 2018

With the Trump Administration proposing a very significant expansion in offshore drilling as shown here:

....and here:

 ...a video produced by Shell's Film and Video Unit back in 1991 is particularly pertinent, given that Shell could well be one of the companies to benefit from the proposed changes to the offshore drilling regime in the United States.  Back in 1991, Shell Oil produced and distributed a twenty-eight minute-long documentary entitled "Climate of Concern".  This film shows quite clearly Shell's concerns about the growing threat of climate change on the survival of humanity.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a link to the video in its entirety:

Since many of us are not aware of when the concept of global climate change first appeared, here is a recap.  The development of global environmental awareness began in 1987 with the discovery of the stratospheric "ozone hole" and the publication of the report "Our Common Future", also in 1987.  As far as climate change awareness is concerned, there are five phases in which the issue appeared in the public psyche leading up to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997:

1.) Foundational phase prior to 1985 - scientific concern about global warming evolves.

2.) Agenda setting phase from 1985 to 1988 - climate change morphs from a scientific issue to a policy issue as government became involved in the process.

2.) Prenegotiation phase from 1988 to 1990 - governments become significantly involved in the process

3.) Formal intergovernmental negotiations phase from 1990 to 1992 - negotiations led to the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

4.) Post-Agreement phase from 1992 to 1997 - elaboration and implementation of the UNFCCC and initiation of negotiations that led to the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

As you can see, the Shell video discussed in this posting was produced at a fairly early stage of the debate over the impact of the burning of fossil fuels on global climate.

Let's look at some key screen captures from the video, showing us what Shell believed about anthropogenic climate change in the very early 1990s.  After discussing how the atmospheric greenhouse gas balance that has existed for millennia is changing, the video shows a possible cause for that change.  Here is a graphic showing the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the increased use of the three main carbon-bearing fossil fuels since the 1850s (4 minute 25 second mark):

The documentary also noted that other even more potent gases released during the burning of fossil fuels have led to the retention of even more heat in the atmosphere.

Shell notes that over the years in the 1980s, temperatures began to rise and spread across the globe as shown on these two screen captures (5 minute 20 second mark):

Here is a screen capture showing Shell's calculation that global temperatures to 1990 have increased by roughly 0.5 degrees Celsius over the past century  (6 minute 4 second mark):

The narrator states that, while the temperature increase could be due to natural climate change, it does accord with computer analyses of the impact of the buildup of greenhouse gas emissions on climate.

Here is a screen capture showing Shell's forecast for global temperatures out to 2050 (6 minute 28 second mark):

Shell suggests that the resulting temperature changes could be faster than at any time since the end of the ice age, "...change too fast, perhaps, for life to adapt without severe dislocation...".  They also note that the climate patterns that we observe today are likely to change and that there will be an "...increasing frequency of abnormal weather...".

Keeping in mind that, in terms of revenue (2015 data), Royal Dutch Shell was the world's 6th largest oil company and that, according to its 2016 annual report, it produced an average of 3.668 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/day), up from 2.954 million boe/day in 2015, it is notable that the company is still emitting 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents (2016 data) as shown on this graphic:

Let's close with this tweet dated November 6, 2012 from citizen Donald Trump:

Perhaps Mr. Trump would be better off to blame Royal Dutch Shell for the concept of global warming?

1 comment:

  1. This is sure to get those idiots from GREENPEACE upset we all know how these GREENPEACE jerks like to climb up on building,bridges and national monuments to unfurle their stupid banners on them all Eco-Wackos oppose drilling and fracking because their so darn stupid they must think the world is flat