Archived press release
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Investing in Shell will become increasingly risky when the world wakes up to the fact that fossil fuels need to be left in the ground to combat climate change, shareholders and pension funds were warned by Friends of the Earth today (Tuesday 20 May 2014).

New research from Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) , which coincides with Shell’s AGM in Amsterdam today, shows that Shell is particularly at risk from a carbon bubble as it has high carbon projects in the pipeline. Shell’s investments in tar sands are five times more carbon-intense than normal gas and 80 per cent of their fossil fuel reserves are un-burnable.

Friends of the Earth is calling on Shell to end its dangerous addiction to oil. In Nigeria, Shell should meet its responsibilities for the environmental and social destruction from its oil operations. Other campaigns include:

  • Friends of the Earth Netherlands is calling on Dutch pension giant ABP to disinvest from Shell
  • Shareaction’s Greenlight campaign in the UK is asking people to tell their pension funds with holdings in Shell to press the firm to stop their plans to drill the Arctic

Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Asad Rehman said:

“By ignoring the carbon bubble Shell is pulling a bigger confidence trick than those who brought down the financial system – they are trying pass off a losing situation as being a sound financial investment to their investors.

“If they continue to downplay the carbon bubble, Shell jeopardises ordinary peoples’ hard-earned pension pots and leaves billions of people facing devastating climate change.

“It’s time for Shell investors to wake up and switch their investments to clean energy that will create jobs and benefit the planet.”

Geert Ritsema, Head of the Energy and Natural Resources Campaign at Milieudefensie, said:

“Shell may not decide to take the 2-degree limit seriously, but the rest of the world does.

“The Netherlands, the EU, the G8 and the UN have all set this as official climate objective. And because global reserves of fossil fuels are five times too large, Shell will have to write off the most expensive and most CO2 intensive reserves first.

“If shareholders are to prevent their shares becoming worthless in the near future, they need to call on Shell now to stop its strategy that one-sidedly aims at investing in unconventional fuels.”


Notes to editors

  1. Please see Friends of the Earth’s briefing on the Shell carbon bubble:
  2. Shell’s letter to shareholders sent on Friday 16 May 2014:
  3. Milieudefensie’s  Shell carbon bubble infographic:
  4. Milieudefensie’s report: ‘Shell’s Carbon Bubble-Shell reserves: high carbon intensity, high extraction costs, high investment risks’:
  5. In the Netherlands: Milieudefensie is calling on Dutch pension giant ABP to disinvest from Shell – see @ShellCarbonBubb
  6. For more information on Shareaction’s Greenlight campaign please see here:
  7. For more information on the damage Shell is causing in Nigeria, please see: and
If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.


Published by Friends of the Earth Trust