Shell CEO protected by security as climate protesters try to storm shareholder meeting

LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) – Security personnel protected Shell (SHEL.L) chief executive Wael Sawan and the company’s board as climate protesters tried unsuccessfully to take action. storm the stage at the energy giant’s annual shareholder meeting in London on Tuesday.

Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie was unable to start the energy giant’s annual general meeting of shareholders an hour after its scheduled start amid chanting and shouting climate activists before being executed one by one by security personnel.

At one point, dozens of security personnel formed a human chain on the stage to protect executives and directors from protesters running towards them and trying to climb the stage.

The scenes were reminiscent of Shell’s shareholders’ meeting last year, which was delayed by around three hours with similar, staggered protests.

“Go to hell, Shell, and don’t come back any more,” sang a choir of a dozen protesters as Sawan and President Andrew Mackenzie looked on.

“I will not sit idly by while Shell destroys this beautiful planet,” one protester shouted.

Shell also faces an increasingly vocal minority of institutional shareholders saying it must act faster to tackle climate change while seeking to balance pressure from other investors to capture oil and gas profits. .

“We’ve heard that point over and over now,” Mackenzie told protesters.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have this debate rather than saying the same thing over and over again.”

A company spokesperson said Shell welcomed constructive engagement and highlighted Shell’s plans to become a net-zero carbon company by 2050.

Shell shareholders will vote Tuesday on an activist shareholder resolution calling on the company to set more ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030, which Shell’s board rejects.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 43% by 2030 from 2019 levels to have a chance of meeting the Paris Agreement goal of maintaining the warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) warmer than pre-industrial levels.

Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; edited by Jason Neely

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Shadia Nasralla

Thomson Reuters

Written on the intersection of corporate oil and climate policy. Has reported on politics, economics, migration, nuclear diplomacy and affairs from Cairo, Vienna and elsewhere.

Ron Bouso

Thomson Reuters

Ron has covered the world’s largest oil and gas companies since 2014, focusing on their efforts to transition to renewable and low-carbon energy and the turmoil in the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-invasion. of Ukraine by Russia. He was named Reporter of the Year in 2014 and 2021 by Reuters. Prior to Reuters, Ron reported on stock markets in New York in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis after covering conflict and diplomacy in the Middle East for AFP outside Israel.

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