‘Go To Hell, Shell’: Climate Activists Try To Storm Stage At Oil Giant’s Annual Meeting
Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Climate activists in London attempted to rush the stage at the annual shareholder meeting for Shell, contending that the British oil and gas behemoth is complicit in rising global temperatures.

Fossil Free London posted chaotic footage on Tuesday of protesters disrupting the meeting as security prevented them from climbing onto the stage. Some 100 individuals from organizations such as Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion chanted “Go to hell, Shell” and participated in rallies against the firm, according to a report from Euronews.

The protesters delayed the meeting for more than an hour as the various planned disruptions continued to unfold, according to another report from Morning Star. Shell said in a statement to the BBC that the activists were not “interested in constructive engagement” and noted that the firm has already committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

Individuals associated with Extinction Rebellion have been known to vandalize public monuments and artwork to draw attention to climate change. Activists poured fake blood on the charging bull statue on Wall Street four years ago, covering themselves with the material and laying on the ground while pretending to be dead.

Activists meanwhile pressured the company to adopt various climate resolutions. Follow This, a network of green shareholders in publicly traded firms, introduced one measure that would have decreased emissions by 2030 but failed as only 20% of shareholders voted in favor of the move.

“We have made it easy for investors to use the power of their votes, but many investors have yet to decouple short-term profits from long-term risks for the company and their portfolios,” Mark van Baal, the founder of the network, said in a press release.

The resolution was endorsed by Climate Action 100+, an alliance of asset managers committed to ensuring that “the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change.” BlackRock and State Street, which pressure their respective portfolio companies to adopt various climate initiatives, are members of the alliance.

Many shareholder resolutions at Shell and other publicly traded companies this year have centered on advancing the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, also known as ESG, an investment philosophy that calls for the use of corporate power to promote social agendas in a manner which critics say distracts from the maximization of profits. Shareholders of investment and insurance conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, for instance, overwhelmingly rejected similar climate proposals at an annual meeting earlier this month.

ESG funds saw considerable losses amid last year’s underperformance among technology firms, which ESG investors tend to favor because of their emphasis on corporate social responsibility, and overperformance among energy companies, which ESG managers tend to oppose because of their dislike for industries with heavy carbon emissions.

Opponents of a managed transition toward renewable energy have observed that increased carbon emissions from China, as well as India and developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, are outpacing emissions declines in the West. China was responsible for 26.1% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions as of 2018, according to data from the International Energy Agency, surpassing the 13.4% of worldwide emissions produced by the United States and the 7.6% of worldwide emissions produced by members of the European Union.

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