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Shell turns to forests and the earth to soak up its emissions

by Reuters
Thursday, 11 February 2021 10:52 GMT

FILE PHOTO: A view is seen from the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) in Sao Sebastiao do Uatuma in the middle of the Amazon forest in Amazonas state, Brazil, January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

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Oil giant plans to ramp up its use of nature-based carbon offsets, which include forestation projects, to 120 million tonnes a year by 2030

 - Royal Dutch Shell set out plans on Thursday to boost the use of nature-based carbon offsets and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, two climate solutions in their infancy but seen crucial to controlling global warming.

Both technologies can mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions Shell and its customers cannot eliminate on the path to the group's 2050 net zero carbon target. 

Shell wants to ramp up its use of nature-based carbon offsets, which include forestation projects, to 120 million tonnes a year by 2030, a big jump given the entire voluntary carbon offset market reached 104 million tonnes in 2019, Ecosystem Marketplace figures show.

Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a presentation he could imagine its nature-based offset solution portfolio growing to 300 million tonnes a year. It is currently investing around $100 million a year in this sector.

Other European oil majors, such as BP, also view carbon offsets as a growth sector. 

Greenpeace said in a statement Shell’s plans were based on a "delusional reliance on tree-planting".

Shell said it aims to boost its use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which sucks carbon out of the atmosphere, to 25 million tonnes a year by 2035, from 4.5 million tonnes currently either in use or in Shell's pipeline.

Eventually, Shell aims to sell CCS as a service to other emitters, van Beurden said.

In 2020, global operational CCS capacity stood at around 40 million tonnes, the Global CCS Institute said.

CCS is increasingly is viewed as having a major role in reaching the goal of the Paris climate accord to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, but its high cost has so far prevented its use on a commercial scale.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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