29 January 2020, Amsterdam – At the end of January, Shell will present its annual figures over 2019. In anticipation of the ‘profit’ that will be presented, climate action group Code Rood revealed the true costs of Shell’s business operations at Beursplein in Amsterdam today. Using big signs, and accompanied by a performance with bloody and oily shells, the consequences of climate change were visualized. The participants in the action also spoke up about tax evasion, corruption and human rights violations that Shell is involved in. The event is part of the Shell Must Fall action week, during which groups around the country take action against Shell.
‘The annual figures of Shell do not take into account the destructive effects of one of the largest climate polluters in the world: A worldwide devastating climate crisis. In addition, the company does not pay dividend tax and CEO Ben van Beurden makes more money in half a day than somebody with minimum wage makes in a year. We cannot silently watch how big companies ruin our world and contribute to extreme inequality.’ says Nina, of Code Rood.
Around 4 o’clock a few dozen people gathered at Beursplein. Without spreadsheets, they revealed the true costs of Shell’s policy: Bushfires in Australia, enormous flooding in Indonesia, broken homes in Groningen. ‘Royal Dutch Shell spends more than 98% of its investments in dirty, fossil fuels. Scientists have been sounding the alarm bell on the climate crisis for a long time. We see this crisis making millions of victims around the world already. Instead of taking responsibility and using the scientific data wisely, Shell invests in spreading doubt and false information to create a green image.’ adds Hanneke, of Code Rood.
The demonstration of The Year of Misery is part of the larger Shell Must Fall campaign. In May 2019 the campaign was launched by Code Rood, the Gastivists and Climate Liberation Bloc at Shell’s annual shareholders meeting. “It has become obvious that our greatest task is to make Shell fall, and it is simply the only responsible thing to do” said one of the speakers in her speech.
Since then, a variety of groups in the Netherlands and neighboring countries have combined their power under the name of Shell Must Fall. Together they demand an end of Shell. In May of this year, a mass civil disobedience action is being planned in The Hague to block Shell’s annual shareholders meeting. This action will be preceded by an ‘alternative shareholders meeting’, where citizens, scientists, opinion makers and representative of frontline communities that deal directly with the impact of Shell, will discuss what is needed to stop a multinational like Shell and what a future without Shell could look like.
Contact Code Rood
06 16291643 (Hanneke)
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Videomaterial of our interventions at the Shell shareholders meeting in 2019 can be seen here:
More information about how the fossil fuel industry spreads misinformation can be read in the book Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conwa.