Our lives depend on energy wherever we live. But in order to prosper while tackling climate change, society needs to provide much more energy for a growing global population while finding ways to emit much less CO2.
Shell has long recognised the climate challenge and the role of energy in enabling a decent quality of life. We believe that, while technological developments will emerge, effective policy and cultural change is essential to drive low-carbon business and consumer choices and opportunities. The transition to low-carbon solutions is best underpinned by meaningful government-led carbon “pricing” mechanisms.
We welcome efforts made by governments to cooperatively reach the global climate agreement and support long-term climate goals that balance environmental pressures with development opportunities. We particularly welcomed the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change, which came into force on November 4, 2016. The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius by managing climate and environmental pressures while ensuring economic development.
Today, Shell is still primarily an oil and gas company, but we have a long tradition of innovation. We know that long-term success depends on our ability to anticipate the types of energy and fuels people will need in the future and remain commercially competitive and environmentally relevant.
Our natural gas businesses give governments the option to reduce emissions from electricity, by replacing coal, and we have an interest in a wind business with over 1,000 megawatts of capacity. We have also invested heavily in the lowest-carbon biofuel, through our Raízen joint venture with Cosan in Brazil, and we continue to explore second-generation biofuels options. In 2016 we created a New Energies business to further explore investment opportunities in energy solutions that combine wind and solar power with gas, for example, and new ways to connect customers to energy.
Shell is a long-time supporter of government-led carbon “pricing” mechanisms. We have a number of vehicles to support investment in new technology, such as Shell Ventures – a venture capital body with an investment focus on a mix of traditional oil and gas, clean and green technology. In recent years, Shell Ventures has supported both solar-based and wind businesses.
We are also committed to reducing our emissions intensity and continuing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of our operations as well as ending continuous flaring.
Shell Scenarios and pathways to decarbonisation
Shell Scenarios* envisage a future where renewable energies could eventually become the largest component of the global energy system. But, despite the rapid growth of renewables, they anticipate that it will only be possible to provide the full range of energy products by combining renewables with cleaner hydrocarbons such as natural gas, and deploying technology to capture and store emissions of CO2.
To achieve such an outcome for a global population of at least 9 billion by mid-century will require an enormous global undertaking supported by effective policy, a sense of urgency, and long-term vision.
According to Shell Scenarios, the energy system of the future will be something of a patchwork. Some countries and sectors of the economy could de-carbonise in the coming decades, while others – such as energy intensive heavy industries – will likely require more time to develop technology solutions.
Ways society can move towards a lower-carbon future include improving energy efficiency, switching from coal to natural gas, increasing electrification and the use of renewables. Further options include boosting the use of low-carbon fuels, rethinking land-use and agrarian policies, and improving low-carbon infrastructure planning for cities and transit systems.
Shell Scenarios suggest that the world will require means of achieving “negative” emissions in some sectors to offset remaining emissions. One way to do this is to combine sustainable biomass gasification with the capture and storage of carbon dioxide (CCS) in power generation.
Read more about ways to help reduce CO2 emissions, and where Shell is active.