Shell consultant quits over energy giant’s ‘disregard’ for climate change risks ‘as the sirens are going off’

“The sirens are going off and it just feels like Shell are not taking any notice,” the consultant said

Saphora Smith
Climate Correspondent
Monday 23 May 2022 17:01
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Caroline Dennett explains why she's severing ties with Shell

A consultant who says she has worked with Shell for more than a decade has publicly quit, claiming the energy giant “disregards” the risks of climate change and ecological collapse.

Caroline Dennett said she could no longer work with a company she claims “ignores all the alarms.”

“Contrary to Shell’s public expressions around net zero, they are not winding down on oil and gas, but planning to explore and extract much more,” she said in a post on LinkedIn announcing her decision to sever ties.

“Shell is fully aware that their continued oil and gas extraction and expansion projects are causing extreme harms, to our climate, environment, nature and to people.”

In a call with The Independent, Ms Dennett said she had felt more and more uncomfortable working for Shell over the years, capped at the end of last year when she was asked to do a survey on a brand new extraction project.

Caroline Dennett says the ‘sirens are going off’ but Shell ‘are not taking notice’

“It’s one thing to transition out of fossil fuels to renewables and to do that while still operating safely - that’s a must,” she said. “But this isn’t transitioning, this is getting more and more out of the ground.”

“The bells are ringing massively, the sirens are going off and it just feels like Shell are not taking any notice,” claims Ms Dennett, who is director of Clout, a business that conducts in-depth employee surveys around safety in high-risk industries.

After seeing an Extinction Rebellion protest outside Shell’s London headquarters last month, during which activists called on employees to jump ship and for insiders to get in contact with them, Ms Dennett said she decided to get in touch and the decision to quit followed thereafter.

Ms Dennett said she emailed her intentions to Shell Executives and 1,400 staff and contractors this morning, and she posted a screenshot of the message on LinkedIn.

“I want Shell execs and management to look in the mirror and ask themselves if they really believe their vision for more oil and gas extraction secures a safe future for humanity,” she wrote in the email.

XR activists enter Shell HQ and glue themselves to government buildings

She is urging others who can find a way out to walk away now.

“I know I’m privileged to be able to make this choice, and many people working in fossil fuel industries just aren’t so lucky,” she said in a video message alongside the post.

Last year, the International Energy Agency warned that oil and gas exploration projects must stop from 2021 for the world to meet its climate targets.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned last month that investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is “moral and economic madness.”

A Shell spokesperson said: “Be in no doubt, we are determined to deliver on our global strategy to be a net zero company by 2050 and thousands of our people are working hard to achieve this.

“We have set targets for the short, medium and long term, and have every intention of hitting them. We’re already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, although the world will still need oil and gas for decades to come in sectors that can’t be easily decarbonized.”

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