Trans-Atlantic climate gap rises at Houston summit

Source:Reuters-Global Times Published: 2018/3/8 19:13:39

The US energy secretary blasted renewable fuels champions on Wednesday (US time) while the head of Royal Dutch Shell Plc urged the energy sector to focus on global efforts to cut carbon emissions, reflecting a yawning trans-Atlantic gap on climate issues.

Speaking at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden outlined an ambitious plan to reduce the Anglo-Dutch company's carbon footprint and expand in renewables, and called on others to follow.

Shell and European peers including BP Plc, France's Total SA and Norway's Statoil are becoming increasingly active in low-carbon energy and are vocal supporters of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Until recently, climate has been less prominent in strategy presentations from US rivals Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp.

The US, under former president Barack Obama, helped negotiate the Paris agreement which calls for a gradual shift to renewable energy by the end of the century. President Donald Trump decided to withdraw last year.

Van Beurden gave an unusually strong-worded speech calling climate the biggest challenge facing the energy sector.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry struck a starkly different tone, blasting the 2015 agreement to limit global warming. Perry said it was "immoral" to say people should live without fossil fuels.

"We are passionate about renewable energy. But the world, especially developing economies, will continue to need fossil fuels, as over a billion people on the planet live without access to electricity," Perry said.

Perry extolled growing US energy independence, as a boom in onshore shale drilling led to a rapid growth in oil as well as natural gas, the least polluting fossil fuel.

Executives at the Houston conference repeatedly noted growing demand for fossil fuels, and downplayed the overall viability of renewable energy or electric vehicles.


Newspaper headline: US exec blasts renewable leaders


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