Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell Oil, received this letter late June, 2015.
Here’s the letter with my comments.
The Letter to Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell Oil
June 25, 2015
I have two recommendations:
1) Return to the plan of becoming an energy company.
You must know that the future of the oil business is limited. Decreasing reserves, declining renewable energy costs, and climate change make expanded oil production both unrealistic and destructive.
The Netherlands, for example, will be destroyed by rising sea waters.
Benefits: Shell would gain the support of every environmental organization, resulting in more business, plus Shell would become a heroic leader toward a sustainable future.
2) Stop plans to drill in the Arctic.
There is not enough oil in the Arctic to justify the risks in this venture. One mishap would attract enough costs and animosity to ruin Shell.
Benefits: Your actions will be consistent with the environmental message presented on Shell’s web site.
Why I Wrote This Letter to Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell Oil
In 1976 I was working at Gulf Oil’s research center in Harmarville, PA.
Gulf Oil had one of the premier research organizations in the world with a workforce of over 1,800 employees.
At that time scientists were talking about global warming.
They knew that burning oil would increase the concentration of CO2 in the air, thereby causing the atmosphere to retain more heat. The net result would be increased global temperatures.
Global warming is old, simple science.
And more importantly, the executives in the oil companies have known about global warming for decades.
Yet, they have responded by using propaganda technologies developed by the tobacco industry to trick the public into thinking that global warming was something that could be ignored.
Increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will make the oceans too acidic to support fish.
Melted Polar and Greenland ice will flood most costal cities.
Disruptions in agriculture will put half the World’s population at risk of starvation.
So I wonder: When do they plan to tell the truth?
Because someday, it will be impossible to lie about global warming.
Drilling for oil in the Arctic is possible only during a small time window of tolerable weather.
Similarly, any type of emergency operation to clean up an oil spill would be possible during this time window.
During my 16 years working for oil companies (Gulf Oil and Chevron) I’ve been in a few oil fields. And I worked with engineers who developed technologies for offshore oil production.
From this I learned that: 1) Oil production under the best conditions is a dangerous, dirty enterprise, and 2) Offshore operations are extremely high risk.
Leaders are responsible for a having a large time frame of perception. This involves anticipating changes that affect their organization.
Then they orchestrate internal adjustments to accommodate the impending change.
Effective leaders take care of this early.
That’s because leaders know they have two choices: 1) Make adjustments early when they can control how such adjustments are made, or 2) Wait until they are forced to comply, often according to the dictates of external forces.
If you care about this, there are many easy things you can do.
For example, you could:
1) Use less gas.
It’s easy. And you’ll save money. Here’s an article with simple suggestions. Save Money on Gas
2) Support your future.
There are many organizations that are working to protect your future. They need members, volunteers, and supporters. Here’re the organizations that I’m supporting. Organizations
3) Tell others.
For example, please share this article. Post the link on Facebook, Linkedin, and other social media sites.