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Royal Dutch Shell documents predicted climate change in 1988

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 9 April 2018, 12:45 IST

Three decades ago Shell's working group warned that sea level is rising at a rapid pace and it would impair its offshore refineries, depots and installations.

A Dutch journalist has found Royal Dutch Shell documents which are as old as 1988 and the documents show the seriousness of climate change, the company is largest contribution and how hard it would be to stop it.

In 1988, the company commissioned a report “The Greenhouse Effect” which revealed that the Shell group was contributing 4 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions through its oil, natural gas and coal products. It was through the report, scientists presumed that the climate change would be detectable late in the 20th or early 21st century.

The report also warned that, "by the time global warming becomes detectable, it could be too late to take effective countermeasures to reduce the effects or even to stabilize the situation. The members of  Shell's Greenhouse Effect Working Group wrote the report.

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Jelmer Mommers, a reporter with De Correspondent found the documents. The documents were posted on Climate Files website, which is sponsored by the Climate Investigations Center, an environmental activist group.

The climate change is real and daunting, and it would affect living standards, food supplies and will have social, economic and political consequences.

It is interesting that the company was a member of the Global Climate Coalition, as it often raised doubts about climate change and opposed Kyoto Protocol. Though, Shell left the group in 1998.

The 1988 report estimated that in 1981, 44 percent of carbon dioxide emissions came from oil, 38 percent from coal and 17 percent from natural gas.

“With fossil fuel combustion being a major source of CO2 in the atmosphere, a forward-looking approach by the energy industry is clearly desirable, seeking to play its part with governments and others in the development of appropriate measures to tackle the problem,” the report said.

It was last week that the Shell gave a statement about the newly released report. It states, “The Shell Group's position on climate change has been a matter of public record for decades. We strongly support the Paris Agreement and the need for society to transition to a lower carbon future, while also extending the economic and social benefits of energy to everyone,” the company said.

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First published: 9 April 2018, 11:56 IST