- Peace Garden: Greenwashing


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

>Big Oil Lets Sun Set on Renewables
Shell, the oil company that recently trumpeted its commitment to a low carbon future by signing a pre-Bali conference communique, has quietly sold off most of its solar business.
The move, taken with rival BP’s decision last week to invest in the world’s dirtiest oil production in Canada’s tar sands, indicates that Big Oil might be giving up its flirtation with renewables and going back to its roots.
Shell and BP are among the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, but both have been keen to paint themselves green through a series of clean fuel initiatives.
Environmental groups have always accused Shell of using clean energy initiatives as “greenwash” to deflect criticism from its core carbon operations, especially tar sands. The latest pull-out has annoyed rival business leaders at London-based Solar Century and local Indian operation, Orb Energy, who fear the impact of a high-profile company selling off solar business. Jeremy Leggett, chief executive of Solarcentury and a leading voice in renewable energy circles, said Shell was undermining the credibility of the business world in its fight against global warming.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Joss Garman said: “If Shell is to survive the climate change age… it needs to become not just an oil company but an energy company. One wonders if Shell’s executives have noticed what’s happening in Bali or if we’ll see slick adverts on TV boasting about their retreat from renewables. Probably not.”
Maybe they know something we don't. Maybe they know of two oil reserves (Venezuela and Iran) that will be gift-wrapped and presented to them. Who needs to invest in solar and renewables when you have the mighty US government and troops finding and protecting your oil supplies.

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