Shell joins Exxon to defend Paris climate accord

Royal Dutch Shell has voiced its support for the Paris climate agreement amid speculation that President Donald Trump may be about to withdraw the US from the global emissions reduction plan.

Europe’s largest oil and gas company said it “very much supports” the action plan, adopted in December 2015 and backed by 195 countries, to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The comment, from Jessica Uhl, Shell’s chief financial officer, on Thursday echoed similar interventions from other large energy groups. In a letter to the Trump administration in March, ExxonMobil, the largest US oil and gas group, defended the Paris agreement as “an effective framework for addressing climate change”.

The Trump administration has sent mixed signals over whether it will make good on the president’s pre-election promise to “cancel” US participation in the Paris accord, as part of his wider advocacy for fossil fuels and scepticism about climate change.

Rex Tillerson, US secretary of state and former chief executive of ExxonMobil, is widely reported to be among those pushing for the US to stick with the agreement. However, the latest reports from Washington have claimed momentum has swung back to advisers such as Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who favour withdrawal.

Addressing reporters after Shell’s first quarter results on Thursday, Ms Uhl said: “Shell very much supports the Paris agreement and we believe it is the right path forward for society.”

She said Shell was committed to making its business “resilient over time” to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy required to meet the Paris targets. Shell is investing heavily in natural gas as a cleaner alternative to coal in power generation and also in offshore wind and other forms of low-carbon power.

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