TED Conversations

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  • Jul 1 2012: What will the planet look like if Shell and its cohorts continue with exploration and devastation in areas such as the Arctic and the Alberta tar sands, XL pipeline etc.

    I cannot just believe that you are 'evil' but these actions are evil so please help me, and many others, to understand this from your perspective.

    We all understand the requirements for energy, but how will those billions of people live when Shell and co have destroyed the planet? Or at least the quality of life the planet can afford us.

    Just watched the tar sands 'The True Cost of Oil' Ted talk - as part of the machine that is actively creating and continuing this ecological and humanitarian disaster - what are your reactions / the justifications you use to make it ok?

    If for instance your children watched that talk how would you explain to them why you plan to not cease this but rather to ramp it up and magnify it? Or to the people who will be most immediately affected - the local tribes etc. When we see the images of what has already taken place and it wrenches our hearts - what do you see? Dollars? When we recycle at home and buy eco cars and ride our bikes to work and turn our eco bulbs out when we leave the room and wear jumpers so we can keep the heaters down low to preserve energy... then we see this - how are we not to feel, marginalised, futile and condescended to?

    Your response is apreciated.

    David (from NZ where our PM John Key is planning to exploit our oil reserves with no thought for the potential repercussions - even so soon after the Gulf Catastrophe.)
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      Jul 2 2012: David, thanks for the question – you’re right to be concerned. I have kids and think about the future world they’ll be living in. I can give you some answers to our points, but we DO face a huge multifaceted problem – rising energy demand and an evolving world energy system with economic/environmental/political impacts of any decisions made.

      We are on our way to 9 billion. In the decades to come, major economies will continue to consume energy to grow. In developing countries many people will become more prosperous, able to enjoy the benefits we in the West take for granted. In short, the world will need more energy. What is important is the source of that energy. Fossil fuels will still provide the bulk of this energy with, we believe, a greater role to play for cleaner-burning natural gas. Renewable energy, including low-carbon biofuels for transport, are important and will also increase steadily.

      At Shell we believe responsibly delivering cleaner/more reliable/affordable energy is the best contribution we can make to a more stable world where economies can thrive. To do this we work with communities/ companies/governments/consumers/NGOs and we know there is much work to do to meet the challenges of building a sustainable energy future.

      After the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the energy industry rightly came under intense scrutiny. For Shell, safety remains our top priority. Our standards are rigorous. If things do not go as planned we respond decisively, and we investigate all incidents to learn and improve performance.

      We prepare thoroughly to prevent incidents. This summer, we intend to start exploration drilling in waters off Alaska. We have worked closely with communities/coastguards /regulatory authorities to put the necessary safeguards in place. This collaborative effort has been invaluable. Shell was also a founding member of the UN Global Compact and we support its principles in human rights/labour/environment/anti corruption.

      Hope this helps

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