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Is protesting fossile fuels stupid?

In short "yes". China and India have an insatiable appetite for energy and will continue to import what they need. No amount of protesting will stop that. Together they use almost half the world's oil & natural gas. The US's energy demands have leveled to the contrary.

Wind and solar represent a minute source of alt energy. They certainly have merit but are feasible only where the wind blows and the weather is sunny. That excludes most of the EU, China, and large parts of the US. Producing solar panels is expensive and has a large carbon footprint.

Nuclear power is the only good alt energy source at present but sadly the green lobby doesn't seem to realize least yet.

If you want to protest in support of something, how about massive R&D to develop better energy sources and processes?

Shell is giving Greenpeace a $6.6 million incentive to stop protesting

The oil firm will reduce damages if Greenpeace agrees "to never protest on its infrastructure again"

By Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz

Taking on an oil giant.

Shell has massively reduced the damages it is seeking in a legal fight with Greenpeace, over an episode that saw demonstrators take over one of its oil rigs. But it is seeking a major concession: that the environmental group stays off Shell property for good.

From Jan. 31 to Feb. 12 this year, six Greenpeace activists boarded and occupied a 34,000-tonne Shell oil rig to protest drilling. They boarded off the coast of Canary Island and traveled almost 4,000 kilometers to Norway. At the time of the protest, Shell and its co-claimant, platform builder Fluor, said they would seek damages upwards of $120,000.

In more recent correspondence, the claim was closer to $8.6 million—a $2.1 million claim from Shell and a $6.5 million claim from Fluor, as per documents seen by Reuters. The aim is to recover costs related to shipping delays, expenses for extra security, and legal costs.

While the oil giant isn’t opposing the right to protest, boarding a moving vessel at sea was “unlawful and extremely dangerous,” a Shell spokesperson told Reuters. In a statement on Nov. 9, Greenpeace said Shell is retaliating against a “peaceful protest” with an “intimidation lawsuit” to silence the campaigners.

“The claim is one of the biggest legal threats against the Greenpeace network’s ability to campaign in its more than 50-year history,” Greenpeace said.

Shell has now made an offer to reduce the monetary burden: The company and its contractor will settle for $1.4 million in damages, as long as “Greenpeace organisations would agree to never protest on its infrastructure again, at sea or in port anywhere in the world,” according to Greenpeace International.

The environmental activist group and its UK affiliate said they “would agree to such a protest ban if Shell agreed to stop wrecking the climate—by complying with the Netherlands court order requiring the company to reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030, relative to 2019, across all activities.”

Quotable: A protestor’s view

“Shell is trying to silence my legitimate demands: that it must stop its senseless and greedy pursuit of fossil fuels and take accountability for the destruction it is wreaking upon the world. I will stand up in court and fight this; and if Shell refuses to stop drilling, I refuse to stop fighting for climate justice.”

—Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. He is among the activists individually named in Shell’s legal claim.

One big number: Shell earnings

$40 billion: Shell reported on Feb. 2 that its 2022 profits had more than doubled from the year prior. Based on this figure, Greenpeace has said it would have taken Shell “less than two seconds” to earn the $120,000 that the company initially was seeking from Greenpeace for damages.

Person of interest: Shell CEO Wael Sawan

In July, Shell CEO Wael Sawan said reducing fossil fuel output is “dangerous”—a clarion call that UN climate chief Simon Stiell labeled “irresponsible.” Since then, the Shell executive has reassured staff that he “believes in urgent climate action.” But he also has been reenergizing the company’s core oil and gas business since his appointment at the start of this year.

Meanwhile, Shell’s renewable chief, Thomas Brostrom, a star hire who came from Danish energy developer Ørsted in 2020, left the company earlier this year. A French energy firm replaced Shell in wind projects in Irish waters after the British oil company pulled out of projects last year. Thousands of employees backed an open letter addressed to the leadership expressing concern about the backtracking on cutting fossil fuel production.

Areeba Hamid, co-executive director of Greenpeace UK, has called for the case to be tossed out of court and for Shell to be regulated by the government “because it’s clear Sawan is hell-bent on profit, regardless of human cost.”

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