In what appears to be the next phase in the oil giant’s efforts to decarbonize, Royal Dutch Shell has revealed an ambitious plan to double its investments in green energy.
Shell will boost its expenditures on low carbon energy to $4 billion a year — a staggering increase from its commitment to spend $1-$2 billion annually on green energy within the next two years. The Netherlands-based company has a total budget of $25 billion, the rest of which will still be spent on hydrocarbons.
“I would like my current business to be financially credible enough for not only the company, but shareholders, to want to double it and look at more,” Maarten Wetselaar, the integrated gas and new energies director for Shell, stated to the Guardian. Wetselaar indicated that if Shell sees enough return on its investments, the company will likely spend more on green energy development from 2020 and beyond.
Shell, under pressure from climate change activists, has made a number of environmentally-friendly commitments in recent years.
The oil and gas giant announced plans earlier in December to establish strict carbon emissions targets, and will incentivize senior executives to follow through on these targets by linking it to their pay.
“We will be systematically driving down our carbon footprint over time,” Shell’s chief executive Ben van Beurden stated to the media. “We all know the benefits of energy but there are associated effects that we have to manage.”
Shell is a pledged supporter of the Climate Leadership Council, a group that supports the implementation of a carbon tax to fight global warming and establish a new welfare system to offset higher energy costs. The Dutch oil company has increasingly involved itself in carbon pricing battles in the U.S., where the company has praised carbon tax bills introduced in Congress and has quietly held talks with environmental groups regarding a carbon tax.
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