Shell quits AFPM oil lobby over climate policy disputes

Umar Ali 3 April 2019 (Last Updated April 3rd, 2019 11:57)

Shell published an audit of its trade associations' climate positions on Tuesday, announcing its decision to leave the AFPM oil lobby.

Shell quits AFPM oil lobby over climate policy disputes
Shell’s “Industry Associations Climate Review” is part of its efforts for greater transparency. Credit: Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell published an audit of its trade associations’ climate positions on Tuesday, announcing its decision to leave the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) oil lobby.

In its Industry Associations Climate Review, the oil and gas company cited climate policy disputes as the reason for this departure from the AFPM, including the oil lobby not stating support for 2016’s Paris agreement or government-led carbon pricing.

Shell said: “We found that we were aligned with nine of the 19 industry associations; that there was some misalignment with nine; and that there was material misalignment with one industry association, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). We have decided not to renew our membership of AFPM in 2020 as a result.

“This review is a first step towards greater transparency around our activities with industry associations on the topic of climate change. We have developed a set of governance principles to improve how we manage our memberships of industry associations on climate-related topics in the future, which we will start to implement in 2019.”

The review is part of Shell’s efforts for transparency in its climate change targets, following pressure from concerned investors in December 2018 that also resulted in the company establishing clear climate change targets. In a similar vein BP issued a disclaimer in its joint 20-F and annual report for the first time, claiming that its policy positions may not match those of its trade associations.

Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) fossil fuel accountability campaign director Kathy Mulvey said: “Shell’s audit of its trade associations’ climate positions shines a light on the fossil fuel industry’s extensive political lobbying and policy advocacy, and puts pressure on industry peers to join in pulling back the curtain.

“If BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and other major fossil fuel companies followed Shell’s lead, we would be in a much stronger position to enact policies to prevent the worst effects of climate change and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon energy system and economy because trade associations that spread misinformation wouldn’t have members.

“However, it’s unclear how Shell can justify staying with the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Western States Petroleum Association, given their well-documented roles in spreading disinformation on climate science and seeking to block climate action.”

In response to Shell’s departure, AFPM said: “We thank Shell for their longstanding collaboration with AFPM and wish them all the best in the future. AFPM will continue to foster collaboration among our nearly 300 members on important topics like safety and environmental protection.

“We will also continue working on behalf of the refining and petrochemical industries to advance policies that ensure reliable and affordable access to fuels and petrochemicals, while being responsible stewards of the environment.

“AFPM works on myriad issues for our membership. Like any family, we aren’t always fully aligned on every policy, but we always strive to reach consensus positions on policies that are in the best interest of our membership and the communities and consumers that rely on us.”