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LETTER: Fossil fuel industry propaganda in Nelson?

From reader David Beringer
Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

In the Feb. 1 print edition of the Nelson Star, there is an excellent example of fossil fuel industry propaganda: Shell Oil poses as a good corporate citizen by handing over two $4,000 cheques to local organizations — Osprey Community Foundation and the Nelson Police Foundation. Shell’s regional manager as well as representatives of the two organizations are pictured along with the requisite cheque.

The day before, Shell had announced 2023 profits of $28 billion. At the same meeting at which this was announced, they noted that their investment in renewables and “energy solutions” had dropped by 23 per cent from the previous year. Not coincidentally, this $788 million decline in renewable energy investment was in contrast to a $781 million increase in marketing expenditures. These numbers are all from a Feb. 1, 2024, Reuters article.

Shell shareholders received the seventh recent increase in their dividend. The four per cent increase in the last quarter amounts to a 20 per cent annual increase.

Shell is profiting greatly from fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels is the reason for our destabilizing climate. Shell shareholders are profiting immensely while we experience rain and wild temperature fluctuations.

Farmers are facing massive losses, ski hills are closing, flooding is occurring around the province. Everywhere the signs of impending catastrophe are evident, yet as a society we continue to accept the propaganda tricks of the fossil fuel industry.

For Shell to give worthy Nelson organizations $8,000 is no less dishonourable than former Alberta premier Ralph Klein tossing a few coins to homeless people in a shelter. I believe Mr. Klein later apologized for his actions. I am waiting for Shell to respond.

David Beringer