Earlier this year, Shell announced that it plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is a company that, as you might be aware, is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases in the world. It is an absolute nightmare for the planet, and has caused any number of disastrous effects to the environment. It also knew about the dire threats from human-caused climate change back in the 80s and kept polluting anyway. The company should have pledged to go carbon neutral long ago. And yet, on Monday, seemingly on its high-horse and feeling like a world leader in environmental activism, the company took to Twitter to ask others what exactly they plan to do to lower their emissions.
The overwhelming sentiment of the response was, essentially, "lol, fuck off."
The question came at the start of a "climate debate" that Shell was hosting on Twitter, though calling it a debate might be generous. The company invited a panel of experts, including a Shell executive, to talk about how important it is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
After the panel discussion, Shell asked Twitter users, "what are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?" It gave people four options: Offset emissions, stop flying, buy an electric vehicle, or renewable electricity. The winner was renewable electricity. The loser was Shell, as the company teed up the entirety of Twitter to dunk on its tone deaf attempt at encouraging others to "do their part."
Shell's social media manager was seemingly unprepared for the types of responses they got. At first, the company tried engaging with some of the commenters. But as the replies and quote tweets kept pouring in, it became something of a ballooning oil spill. At one point Shell started trying to hide tweets replying to the poll, which just led to more piling on.
The fact of the matter is, even if every individual on the planet went all-in on being as green and eco-friendly as possible, the carbon emission cut back wouldn't come close to putting a dent in the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere by major corporations. According to a report from the Climate Accountability Institute, just 100 corporations are responsible for more than 70 percent of all carbon emissions since 1988. The same organization found that Shell is the 6th largest contributor of greenhouse gases to the environment since the Industrial Revolution.
Even with its pledge in April to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 (which, by the way, is basically the bare minimum the company can do, considering 2050 is the drop-dead date set by the United Nations if we have any hope of keeping the planet from warming more than two degrees Celsius), Shell's contributions to climate change should never be forgiven. But hey, what are YOU going to do to solve the extinction-level crisis they created?