Shell to leave ALEC, citing climate change stance

Fossil fuel giant to make significant break with US lobbying organisation accused of obstructing low carbon policies



By Ed King

Shell says it plans to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an influential political group that advocates against climate policies.

In a statement sent to RTCC the company said ALEC’s stance on climate change is “clearly inconsistent with our own”.

The UK-Dutch oil giant said it would leave the Washington-based organisation when its membership expires in early 2016, as part of an “ongoing review of memberships and affiliations”.

“We have long recognized both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world,” the statement added.

Shell’s decision follows that of BP in March this year, and comes off the back of a campaign by the US Union of Concerned Scientists against its continued membership.

Google, British Petroleum, Facebook and Yahoo have also quit the group in the past year. Critics of ALEC say the conservative group actively promotes the denial of man’s influence on climate change, a charge it refutes.

A page on its website focusing on climate policy emphasises its belief that “the debate will continue on the significance of natural and anthropogenic contributions” to climate change, which it labels an “historical phenomenon.”

In the past couple of years Shell has tried to ditch its reputation as a major polluter, signing the Trillion Tonne Communique calling on governments to cut emissions, and offering to work with the UN to ensure a 2015 climate deal is a success.

Still, critics point to the company’s decision to drill in the Arctic for oil and gas as evidence it is still not factoring in the risks dangerous levels of climate change could pose to the planet.

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