- GA delayed by protests
- Climate activist resolution wins 20% of votes
LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) – Security personnel shielded Shell (SHEL.L) chief executive Wael Sawan and company directors as climate protesters tried to take to the stage during the energy giant’s annual meeting of shareholders in London on Tuesday.
Proceedings of the meeting began after an hour of disruption as protesters were led by dozens of security personnel. At one point, security personnel formed a human chain onstage to protect protesters’ executives and managers.
“Go to hell, Shell, and don’t come back,” sang a choir of a dozen protesters as they called on Shell to stop producing fossil fuels, as Sawan and President Andrew Mackenzie looked on.
“We’ve heard that point over and over now,” Mackenzie told protesters. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have this debate rather than saying the same thing over and over again.”
He added that Shell’s investment in low-carbon solutions that pay less than oil and gas projects shows it takes climate change seriously.
Shell, which posted a record profit of $40 billion last year, and other major hydrocarbon producers say they must help meet ever-growing demand for oil and gas.
A company spokesperson said protesters were “not interested in constructive engagement” and highlighted Shell’s plans to become a zero-carbon company by 2050.
The company also faces an increasingly vocal minority of institutional shareholders saying it needs to act faster to tackle climate change while balancing pressure from other investors to capture oil and gas profits.
Preliminary figures showed a fifth of Shell shareholders voted in favor of the resolution submitted by activist group Follow This, calling on the company to set more ambitious emissions targets. The resolution was rejected by Shell’s board.
The resolution echoes a ruling by a Dutch court, which asked Shell to increase its climate targets. Shell appealed the decision.
Shell’s own climate strategy resolution won 80% of the vote, similar to last year.
“The Silent Majority is very clear with us about their expectations… (to) find a balanced transition,” Sawan told reporters after the meeting.
Scientists say the world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% below 2019 levels by 2030 to have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of maintaining the warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; edited by Jason Neely
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