BENIN-CITY, NIGERIA. May 14, 2021… A recent decision by the Church of England Pensions Board to vote for Shell’s Climate and energy plan at its 2021 Annual meeting has drawn the anger of over 41 Civil Society Organisations drawn from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria who are calling on the Archbishop of Canterbury to encourage the church of England to challenge Shell rather than support the organisation’s 2050 Carbon emission reduction plan.
While welcoming the leadership being provided by the Archbishop of Canterbury such as in convening global faith leaders ahead of the Glasgow Climate summit, the broad-based Civil Society Organisations in an Open letter, expressed disappointment and deep concerns seeing the Church of England Pensions Board lending its moral and financial authority to Shell, with a plan to vote for shell’s climate and energy plan at the 2021 annual meeting.
“We disagree with the Church of England Pensions Board which is providing its moral and financial authority to support Shell, and we are gravely saddened to see that, it plans to vote for Shell’s climate and energy plan at its 2021 Annual Meeting. We strongly urge the Church of England to challenge Shell, and not to support continuation of environmental atrocities and sins against the people of Niger Delta,” says frontline environmentalist and Convener of the CSOs Rev. David Ugolor.
“Nigeria has horrendous experience with Shell, and as representatives of Nigerian citizens’ groups we wish to tell you that we feel that the company is the opposite of accountable to most Nigerians, and has a track record of misleading statements and commitments,” points Rev Ugolor who is also the Executive Director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).
“It is shameful that a corporation that has wreaked pollution havoc on our communities and contributed massively to climate change through their extraction of crude oil and fossil gas would now seek to dodge action and continue polluting by hiding behind the false ‘net zero’ claims. The world will not be deceived. Shell must not be handed a license to carry out harming the climate without being held to account,” adds another renowned Environmentalist, and Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey.
“We demand that Shell should not be rewarded for setting a long-term ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – What we need now is an urgent action which should commence this year,” says Woman Activist based in Warri, Delta State and Executive Director of Community Empowerment and Development Initiative, Mrs. Martha Onose,
The letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury reads in part. “It is not acceptable for the Church to sign off on a Shell plan for this decade that makes no absolute carbon emission reduction pledges, includes huge increases in gas production,
and relies on improbably large amounts of tree-planting. Indeed, Shell’s rush to find land for ‘nature-based solutions’ might well lead to further carbon colonialism, slavery and human rights violations in the global south. Aiming for net-zero carbon emissions has become another effort by polluting entities like Shell to avoid cutting emissions but rather continue in the harmful practices that drive global warming. Net zero is not zero emissions. It simply means polluting and assuming the equivalent amount of carbon is absorbed by trees or is mechanically captured and stored by an assortment of risky and unregulated geoengineering proposals. Endorsing Shell’s plan is akin to handing the corporation a right to toy with planetary systems while the poor and vulnerable continue to fight a losing battle against global warming.
“The Church of England has an important voice in the world on many topics. And on Shell your responsibility is even weightier, as you lead engagement with the company on behalf of the Climate Action 100+, an initiative involving over 500 investors worth $54 trillion.
“With the effects of climate change more visible every year, the future of our children is at stake, in Nigeria, Africa and around the world. We hope that you hear our call, and take urgent steps to ensure that the church reconsiders its position on Shell. Endorsing the cynical climate plan offered by Shell would mean believing that Earth systems operate according to the principles of calculus and negates the truth that the Earth is a wonderfully created system of interdependent and complex systems that no man can control by mechanical contraptions or imaginations for the sole aim of meeting shareholder’s pleasure.”
It would be recalled that in a recent article the Church of England Pensions Board’s Chief Responsible Investment Officer wrote that Shell’s” goal is clear and unambiguous, and Shell is accountable for delivering that target.” The article has triggered reactions from Climate Justice activists around the world.