By Mat Hope • Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – 23:15
Shell knew climate change was going to be big, was going to be bad, and that its products were responsible for global warming all the way back in the 1980s, a tranche of new documents reveal.
Documents unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, published today on Climate Files, a project of the Climate Investigations Center, show intense interest in climate change internally at Shell.
The documents date back to 1988, meaning Shell was doing climate change research before the UN’s scientific authority on the issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was established.
Here’s a quick run through of a 1988 document entitled, ‘The Greenhouse Effect’.
Climate Change Was Going to be Big
Shell’s internal document acknowledge that increased greenhouse gas emissions could lead to 1.5 degrees to 3.5 degrees of warming:
Shell was worried that should the issue of climate change become better known, public opinion may shift against fossil fuels and towards renewables, putting Shell’s business model at risk:
Shell acknowledged that climate change could lead to changes that were “the greatest in recorded history”. But the company also said that it may have recognised the problem “early enough for man to be able to anticipate and to adapt in time”:
Climate Change Was Going to be Bad
Shell knew that climate change could have “major” and “dramatic” changes. The document said climate change could lead to “major social, political, and economic changes”: