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Meeting the world’s growing energy needs while protecting the environment requires new technology, effective partnerships and careful ways of operating.
Climate change and Shell
The world faces the critical challenge of how to meet rising demand for the energy that powers society, while urgently cutting the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) that energy use generates. Shell is taking action in four areas:
- producing more natural gas - opens on Shell.com, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel;
- helping to develop technologies to capture and store CO2;
- producing low-carbon biofuels - opens on Shell.com; and
- working to improve energy efficiency in our operations.
Learning to use energy more efficiently will help to conserve resources and reduce greenhouse gases for the future health of the planet. We continuously look for ways to make our operations and processes more energy efficient and limit our CO2 emissions. Since 2005, we have followed a multi-billion dollar programme to increase the energy efficiency of our existing operations. We design new projects to use energy efficiently. We also offer our customers products and advice that help them to use less energy.
Managing environmental impacts
Protecting biodiversity is an important factor when we consider any new major project or large expansion to existing operations. We work in partnership with leading conservation groups, including Wetlands International and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). If an area is rich in biodiversity we engage with local communities and experts and develop biodiversity action plans. We also consider the possible impact on benefits that ecosystems provide such as purifying water and air and sustaining food supplies to communities. The research we support includes, for example, helping to identify endangered species.
Spills of oil and oil products can harm the environment and put our employees and neighbouring communities at risk. Over the years we have reduced the amount spilled at our operations for reasons we can control, like corrosion or operational failures.
To help prevent spills from oil tankers, our ship quality assurance standard - opens on Shell.com sets out requirements for the ships we use. For example, we require larger ocean vessels to have double hulls.
We have made efforts to reduce the emissions of local pollutants from our operations. This has involved a wide range of investments to upgrade facilities, install cleaner-burning equipment and sulphur dioxide capture technology.
Reducing water use
We are finding innovative ways to make the most of the water needed in our operations. We design and operate our facilities – using advanced technology and new approaches – to help manage our water use.
Our Pearl GTL plant in Qatar, for example, has been designed to take no fresh water from its arid surroundings. The Schoonebeek project in the Netherlands is reusing municipal waste water to make steam.
We are also active in global initiatives guiding sustainable water management in the private sector. For example, Shell led a project with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the University of Utrecht to develop a new methodology to estimate more accurately the amount of water needed to generate energy from different sources – including oil, gas, coal, nuclear and biofuels – using different technologies and in different locations.
The world’s growing population and rising prosperity will put pressure on global energy, water and food supplies in the coming decades. Climate change is expected to add to the stresses. We are preparing for future challenges facing our planet and its resources by taking action today. We work with others to make a positive contribution to the communities where we operate and aim to limit the environmental impact of our operations.
The world’s energy, water and food systems are strongly interconnected. In the coming decades growing demand will place these essential resources under more pressure. Climate change may also intensify stresses. Industries and other sectors will need to work together to address this complex relationship, called the energy-water-food nexus.
Shell has joined with academics, specialists from the energy, water and food industries, along with experts from governments and non-governmental organisations, to discuss how to help tackle this challenge. We continue, for instance, to use new approaches and advanced technologies aimed at reducing the amount of fresh water we need for our operations and boosting energy efficiency.