The boss of Oil giant Shell, Wael Sawan, emphatically told the BBC that reducing oil and gas production would be “dangerous and irresponsible.” Sawan asserted that the world still has a “desperate need for oil and gas,” highlighting that the transition to renewable energy is not occurring rapidly enough to serve as a substitute.
He cautioned that a surge in demand from China and a cold winter in Europe could lead to further increases in energy prices and bills. Mr Sawan angered climate scientists who said Shell’s plan to continue current oil production until 2030 was wrong.
Professor Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist at the University of Cambridge, emphasized that companies like Oil giant Shell ought to prioritize accelerating the green transition rather than implying that prolonging the use of oil and gas is in the best interest of the most vulnerable in society.
Head of the UN António Guterres recently said investment in new oil and gas production was “economic and moral madness”.
Mr Sawan told the BBC: “I respectfully disagree.” He added: “What would be dangerous and irresponsible is cutting oil and gas production so that the cost of living, as we saw last year, starts to shoot up again.”
The world is in a race to ditch fossil fuels in favour of greener alternatives as globally leaders have pledged to keep the world from warming by more than 1.5C this century.
Last year the European Commission outlined how the EU would speed up its shift to green energy to end its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
Many countries do not have the infrastructure to move to more sustainable forms of energy.
According to Mr. Sawan, an international bidding war for gas last year resulted in poorer countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh being unable to afford shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). As a consequence, these shipments were redirected to Northern Europe.
“They took away LNG from those countries and children had to work and study by candlelight,” he said. “If we’re going to have a transition it needs to be a just transition that doesn’t just work for one part of the world.”