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‘A Trojan horse of legitimacy’: Shell launches a ‘climate tech’ startup advertising jobs in oil and gas

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Shell has launched a new startup named Onward, promoting itself as a pioneer in the energy transition towards a clean future
• Despite its green veneer, the venture mainly offers jobs aimed at enhancing oil and gas production, sparking accusations of greenwashing by experts and environmental critics

🔭 The context: Onward, initially known as Studio X, is portrayed as a hub for innovation in energy and climate solutions
• Yet, an in-depth analysis reveals its primary focus on fossil fuel projects, which contrasts starkly with the urgent call by climate authorities to cease oil and gas exploration by 2030 to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The initiative represents a broader trend among fossil fuel companies to invest in "climate tech" as part of a greenwashing strategy, even as they continue to ramp up production
• These actions contradict the global consensus on reducing reliance on fossil fuels to achieve net-zero emissions and combat climate change effectively

⏭️ What's next: Critics argue that projects like Onward allow Shell and similar companies to maintain a facade of climate commitment while pursuing business models that exacerbate the climate crisis
• The tension between stated environmental goals and actual investment in fossil fuels underscores the challenge of holding corporations accountable for their role in global warming

💬 One quote: "Projects like Onward [allow] Shell to pretend it’s helping find solutions instead of just accelerating the climate crisis," (Paris Marx, technology critic and podcast host)

📈 One stat: Shell allocated $5.6bn, nearly a quarter of its overall capital spend in 2023, to "low carbon energy," though the specifics of these expenditures remain unclear

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