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[greenyes] Oil Companies and Climate Change

Oil chief: my fears for planet

Shell boss's 'confession' shocks industry

David Adam, science correspondent
Thursday June 17, 2004
The Guardian

The head of one of the world's biggest oil companies has admitted that the
threat of climate change makes him "really very worried for the planet".
In an interview in today's Guardian Life section, Ron Oxburgh, chairman of
Shell, says we urgently need to capture emissions of the greenhouse gas
carbon dioxide, which scientists think contribute to global warming, and
store them underground - a technique called carbon sequestration.

"Sequestration is difficult, but if we don't have sequestration then I see
very little hope for the world," said Lord Oxburgh. "No one can be
comfortable at the prospect of continuing to pump out the amounts of carbon
dioxide that we are pumping out at present ... with consequences that we
really can't predict but are probably not good."

His comments will enrage many in the oil industry, which is targeted by
climate change campaigners because the use of its products spews out huge
quantities of carbon dioxide, most visibly from vehicle exhausts.

His words follow those of the government's chief science adviser, David
King, who said in January that climate change posed a bigger threat to the
world than terrorism.

"You can't slip a piece of paper between David King and me on this
position," said Lord Oxburgh, a respected geologist who replaced the
disgraced Philip Watts as chairman of the British arm of the oil giant in

Companies including Shell and BP have previously acknowledged the problem of
climate change and pledged to reduce their own emissions, but the issue
remains sensitive, and carefully worded public statements often emphasise
uncertainties over risks.


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