Let’s take a closer look at Shell.
Last year Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, “earned” a whopping £6.2 million. Next year, he’ll be handed over £1 million just for leaving. How is this possible when millions of us are struggling to make ends meet?
On top of hiking up our energy bills, Shell constantly avoids paying its fair share. One way is by dodging tax: Shell paid no windfall tax this year and often pays no tax at all on North Sea oil and gas. Shell’s bosses also keep their profits high by exploiting their workforce: three in four UK oil and gas workers are contractors and the majority are made to pay for their own training.
Shell is perfectly happy to profit from pain internationally too, including funding Putin’s war in Ukraine by buying up cheap Russian oil this year.
The list goes on.
Shell dumped thousands of barrels of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and lied about cleaning up devastating oil spills which still ooze from the ground in Nigeria. This drilling in Nigeria was only possible in the first place because of the torture and murder of local demonstrators. Then Shell’s fracking in the Netherlands set off earthquakes causing billions in damage to people’s homes.
If companies like Shell charged a fair price for fuel, treated their workers well, paid taxes, and repaired the damage they cause to communities and ecosystems, would they still make so much money? We doubt it – because their profits depend on exploitation.
Fossil fuel profiteers are a global menace. So why hasn’t the government stopped them?
It’s because our politicians are in bed with the fossil fuel industry.
Our last energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg received £22,000 in donations from a millionaire fossil fuel investor who regularly bets against the British economy. 30 Lords have shares in Shell and BP, allowing them to get richer off our energy bill hikes. Several MPs work a side hustle in lobbying groups funded by US oil barons.
That’s why instead of keeping our bills down by insulating our homes or investing in cheap homegrown renewable energy, the government pretends the solution is dishing out more oil and gas licences which won’t boost energy supplies for at least a decade. While fossil fuel companies lap up the profits, the rest of us will face the consequences of a climate catastrophe they caused.
It’s up to us to stand up to these fossil fuel profiteers. Refusing to pay for their profits is the way we hit them where it hurts – in their pockets.