A SENIOR consultant at oil and gas giant Shell has announced her resignation from the company over its "disregard" for the climate crisis.

Caroline Dennett accused the UK firm of “double-talk” on the environment as she announced she would be leaving the firm after 10 years.

She said despite pledges by the company to “do no harm” to the world, it is “expanding” its fossil fuel extraction.

Dennett said: “I've worked with Shell for over 10 years now empowering tens of thousands of workers to improve safety culture at their worksite, trying to keep people safe, prevent oil and gas leaks and major incidents like the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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“But today I'm quitting because of Shell's double talk on climate. Shell's stated safety ambition is to do no harm, it is called Goal Zero, and it sounds honourable, but they are completely failing on it."

Dennett said despite knowing that continued oil and gas extraction causes "extreme harms to our climate, to our environment, and to people" the company is continuing to invest in fossil fuels.

She continued: “And whatever they say, Shell is simply not winding down on fossil fuels. They're expanding with new exploration and extraction projects, against the clear warnings from scientists and dismissing the huge risks from climate change.

“And I just can't be a part of this anymore. I know I'm privileged to be able to make this choice. And many people working in fossil fuel companies just aren't so lucky.

“But the fossil fuel industry is the past. And if you can find a way out then please walk away while there's still time. Do it now.”

A Shell spokesperson said: “Be in no doubt, we are determined to deliver on our global strategy to be a net zero company by 2050 and thousands of our people are working hard to achieve this.

“We have set targets for the short, medium and long term, and have every intention of hitting them.

“We’re already investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, although the world will still need oil and gas for decades to come in sectors that can’t be easily decarbonised.”

Shell is accused of expanding fossil fuel extraction despite knowing the harmsShell is coming under increasing pressure over its role in the climate crisis

It comes as a leading energy chief claimed a windfall tax on oil and gas companies would “undermine” the transition towards energy security.

Some 31 companies in the UK’s offshore energy supply chain wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to urge against introducing a one-off additional levy on the industry.

Political pressure has mounted in recent weeks for the UK Government to introduce a windfall tax on energy corporations to support customers facing soaring energy bills.

Earlier this week, Johnson said he was “not attracted” to the idea of new taxes but said there would be further support to assist with the rising cost-of-living.

Now Deirdre Michie, Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) chief executive, has claimed the tax could hamper the UK's efforts to reach net-zero emissions. 

Shell is accused of expanding fossil fuel extraction despite knowing the harmsThere are calls for a windfall tax on energy firms

 

Speaking at the organisation’s annual conference in Aberdeen on Tuesday, Michie said: “Right now, the windfall tax debate is at the top of an agenda driven by politics.

“It means we are facing the threat of punitive taxes and regulations, just at a time when the UK needs to focus on long-term issues like energy security and working for net zero.

“Much of this is really well-intended. Because the reality check for everyone, with millions of households in fuel poverty, is that there is an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis to pay for, at the same time as we have an environmental emergency to deal with.

“But our belief is that stability in the way we are taxed and regulated is what allows us to promote investment, create jobs and generate taxes that can be used to help with the cost-of-living crisis, while at the same time, getting the balance right in terms of ensuring the nation’s energy security.”

She said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is estimating that the OEUK’s operators will pay more than £7.8 billion to the treasury this financial year.

That, she said, is a 20-fold increase on two years ago and equates to £279 per UK household.

Shell is accused of expanding fossil fuel extraction despite knowing the harmsBoris Johnson has so far rejected calls for a windfall tax on energy companies

And the sector’s combined investment potential, which supports energy security and underpins the transition, could be worth up to £250 billion between now and 2030, the organisation said.

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She added: “But the threat of new taxes could undermine this – disrupting what could be a remarkable British success story.

“And for what? Quick headlines, short-term political gain, a minimal uptick in tax – the benefits of which would actually fade far faster than the damage such a tax could do with declining investment and production levels, that will almost certainly follow.

“Because such unexpected policy swings, risk achieving the opposite of what politicians say they actually want and could result in undermining energy security and ultimately the energy transition itself.”

In the letter written to Johnson, signatories warned the industry is only in the early stages of recovery after suffering significant losses in recent downturns.

BP chief executive Bernard Looney has said a windfall tax could put off investors – though admitted it would not affect BP’s immediate plans.

“By definition windfall taxes are unpredictable – and so would challenge investment in home-grown energy,” he said.

BP has earmarked £18bn of investments in the UK over the next eight years, which Looney said were not dependent on a windfall tax being ruled out. “We’re also backing Britain because it is a great place to invest your money,” he added. “We would love to invest even more – and one of the key foundations of any such decisions will be a stable fiscal environment.”

A windfall tax on energy firms has been backed by the LibDems, Labour, the Greens and the SNP

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said taxing "obscene" profits during a cost of living crisis was the right thing to do.

He said: “The Scottish Greens have consistently maintained that taxing the obscene profits of oil and gas giants could quickly address the urgent and crippling cost of living crisis faced by households with eye-watering rises in their energy bills. The tax contribution these firms are complaining about is a drop in the North Sea cash cow, and they should be expected to contribute more.

“I welcome the fact that the case for a windfall tax has finally reached the Treasury in-tray, and I hope the UK Government will also recognise that to achieve energy security and address the cost of living and climate crises we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels with their volatile prices and invest in clean renewable energy, creating long term jobs for the future.”

Greenpeace agreed, with Ami McCarthy, the organisations politics campaigner, saying: “A windfall tax on oil and gas giants’ bumper profits is the only fair way to tackle the cost of living and climate crises simultaneously. They’re raking in record profits thanks to wartime energy price spikes, having made no new investment or taken no new risks – it’s literally free cash. Billions of it.

“These companies enjoy the lowest level of tax on their profits in the world, paying just 40% compared to the global average of 70%. This tax break is exploiting bill payers, fuelling the climate crisis and, in the face of the current cost of living crisis, is completely unjustifiable.

“A 70% tax on these bloated profits would raise more than £13bn extra this year alone. This could be used to relieve energy poverty in the UK, cover the entire investment required for energy efficiency this Parliament, and kick-start a nationwide roll-out of heat pumps. Reducing the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels is the only way to secure future energy resilience and meet our climate commitments.”