Climate justice groups led by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, Tuesday, stormed the Lagos Headquarters of Shell to demand that the company own up to the environmental impacts of its extraction and climate change and stop discourse on its Net Zero Pledge.
The protest, which was organised to coincide with Shell shareholders meeting in The Hague, Netherlands, was also joined by activists and grassroots mobilisers.
They demanded that the Nigerian government join “the growing list of countries holding corporations like Shell accountable for their decades of deception and abuse”.
Similar protests have been staged in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon and elsewhere.Speaking at the Lagos event, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, said that while Shell continues to trumpet its net zero pledge to end flares by the far-flung year 2050, communities across the African continent, on the frontlines of the climate crisis, continue to suffer and are now saying enough is enough.
Oluwafemi explained that Africa carries the biggest burdens of climate change and called on the Nigerian government and governments across Africa to stand with the impacted people and communities in asking for real solutions, especially emissions reductions; and not far off promises that rely on non-existent technologies that will cause great harm to communities.
The CAPPA boss pointed out that for decades, Shell had known that burning fossil fuels is fueling the climate crisis but instead of stepping on the brakes, worked tirelessly to undermine climate policy and escape accountability for its abuses.
He noted that in the 1980s Shell’s own internal documents showed that it knew about the climate-damaging effect of burning fossil fuels, but the company continued to deny it and fund research on the contrary.
On his part, CAPPA’s Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, revealed that Shell and fossil fuel industry trade associations, particularly the International Emissions Trading Association, IETA, have been instrumental to blocking just progress on climate policy for decades and continue pushing Big Oil’s corporate agenda at the UN climate talks and in national policy.
Jakpor referred to the Conference of Parties, COP25, meeting in Madrid, Spain in 2019, where IETA allegedly sent more than 140 people, more than the entire delegation of the European Union, as well as host country, all in a bid to steer the discussions away from real solutions.
Going further, he pointed out that at the COP24 in Poland, a Shell executive even went as far as bragging about that corporation’s influence in shaping the Paris Agreement, evidencing the extent of their power in climate policy.
He also stressed that the Net zero pledge that Shell is bringing before its shareholders for advisory vote is being used to greenwash business-as-usual as corporations scale-up fossil fuel extraction, burning and emissions.
CAPPA Associate Director, Aderonke Ige also cautioned that Net zero pledges would overwhelmingly rely on either emissions offsets or nonexistent carbon capture technologies that are not viable and will not keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.
The group’s list of demands included the need for African governments to keep fossil fuels in the ground; end of handouts for polluting corporations; the need to make big polluters pay for decades of deception and abuse and the need to particularly hold corporations like Shell accountable for their decades of deception and abuse.