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Environmental activists reject Shell’s net zero, insist polluters must pay

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Environmental activists, under the aegis of Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), yesterday, rejected Shell’s proposed net-zero, through which it is campaigning for the end of flaring by 2050.

To group opposed the corporation’s net-zero mantra in a peaceful protest to Shell’s Head Office in Lagos, saying that it organised the rally to coincide with the oil giant’s yearly general meeting, yesterday at The Hague, Netherlands.

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Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who was accompanied by Associate Director, Aderonke Ige; Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor and other environmental activists, described Shell’s net-zero as climate deception, insisting that the corporation must pay for its pollution.

He said: While Shell continues to flaunt its net-zero pledge to end flaring by 2050, communities across the African continent on the frontlines of the climate crisis, are saying enough to false solution to climate change.

“They are demanding real action, including Shell’s green-washing and abuses. The communities are saying Shell must be held accountable for its climate crimes.

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“We cannot afford to fall for the same tricks that Shell and the fossil fuel industry have been playing for decades with their deceptive green-washing schemes, now being dressed in net-zero climate pledges.”

He noted that in the 1980s, Shell’s internal documents showed that it knew about the climate-damaging effect of burning fossil fuels, but the company continued to deny it and fund researches.

Speaking, Jakpor revealed that Shell and fossil fuel industry trade associations, particularly the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), had been instrumental in negating progress on climate policy for decades and continue pushing big oils’ corporate agenda at the United Nations (UN) climate talks and in national policy.

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He cited the Conference of Parties (COP25) meeting in Madrid, Spain in 2019, where IETA allegedly sent over 140 people, more than the entire delegation of the European Union (EU) and host country to steer the discussions away from real solutions.

Jakpor pointed out that at the COP24 in Poland, a Shell executive even went as far as bragging about the corporation’s influence in shaping the Paris Agreement, which showed the extent of power in climate policy.

He also stressed that the net-zero pledge that Shell is bringing before its shareholders for advisory vote is being used to green-wash business-as-usual as corporations scale-up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions.

On her part, Ige cautioned that net-zero pledges would overwhelmingly rely on either emissions’ offsets or non-existent carbon capture technologies that are not viable and will not keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

CAPPA, therefore, urged the need for African governments to keep fossil fuels in the ground; end of handouts for polluting corporations; the need to make big polluters pay for decades of deception and abuse and the need to hold corporations like Shell accountable for their actions.

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