Benin City, Nigeria…Over 30 Nigerian Civil Society organisations have opposed the Archbishop of Canterbury support for Shell Carbon Energy Plan, and have requested the Archbishop to withdraw such support for a favourable Church of England position.

In a letter of 10th May 2021 signed by over 30 civil society organisations, convener of the groups, the Rev David Ugolor ANEEJ said that even though the organisation agree with the Archbishop that ‘we all have moral and financial responsibility to address the climate emergency’, they are ‘extremely disappointed’ and ‘concerned’ that the Church of England’s Pension Board is lending its moral and financial authority to Shell, and plans to vote for Shell’s climate and energy plan at its 2021 Annual Meeting.

‘Nigeria has deep experience with Shell, and as representatives of Nigerian citizens’ groups we wish to tell you that we feel that the company is the opposite of accountable to most Nigerians, and has a track record of making misleading statements and commitments. Shell should not be rewarded for setting a long-term ambition to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We need urgent action now, starting this year. It is not acceptable for the Church to sign off on a Shell plan for this decade that makes no absolute carbon emission reduction pledges, includes huge increases in gas production, and relies on improbably large amounts of tree-planting. Indeed, Shell’s rush to find land for ‘nature-based solutions’ might well lead to further carbon colonialism, slavery and human rights violations in the global south. Aiming for net-zero carbon emissions has become another effort by polluting entities like Shell to avoid cutting emissions but rather continue in the harmful practices that drive global warming.

Net zero is not zero emissions. It simply means polluting and assuming the equivalent amount of carbon is absorbed by trees or is mechanically captured and stored by an assortment of risky and unregulated geo-engineering proposals. Endorsing Shell’s plan is akin to handing the corporation a right to toy with planetary systems while the poor and vulnerable continue to fight a losing battle against global warming’, the CSO letter to The Most Revd. Justin Welby read.

The groups said that they strongly disagree with the Church of England position that the Shell goal on Carbon Emissions is ‘clear and unambiguous, and Shell is accountable for delivering that target”.

The letter to Archbishop Justin Welby said that because the Church of England has an important voice in the world on many topics, it must take responsibility to lead engagement with the company on behalf of the Climate Action 100+, an initiative involving over 500 investors worth $54 trillion.

‘With the effects of climate change more visible every year, the future of our children is at stake, in Nigeria, Africa and around the world. We hope that you hear our call, and take urgent steps to ensure that the church reconsiders its position on Shell. Endorsing the cynical climate plan offered by Shell would mean believing that Earth systems operate according to the principles of calculus and negates the truth that the Earth is a wonderfully created system of interdependent and complex systems that no man can control by mechanical contraptions or imaginations for the sole aim of meeting shareholder’s pleasure. We urge you to use all the tools available to you to encourage all parts of the Church of England to challenge Shell, rather than champion the corporation’s climate and energy plan.

We pray you to continue to support our demands for ecological justice and the protection of our environment and will be happy to continue the dialogue with you as we look forward to a positive response’, the letter to Archbishop Welby stated.

Civil Society organisations that signed the petition against the Church of England support for Shell Climate Reduction Plan include:

1. Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation

2. Ken Henshaw, We The People

3. Joel Bisina, Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment (LITE- Africa)

4. Bridget Emem, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre

5. Edem Edem, Green Concern for Development (GREENCODE)

6. Umo Isua-Ikoh, Peace Point Development Foundation

7. Nelson Nnanna Nwafor, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD Nigeria

8. Amb. Clinton Ikechukwu Ezeigwe, Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation

9. Tijani Abdulkareem, Socio Economic Research and Development Centre (SERDEC)

10. Abiodun Oyeleye, New Initiative for Social Development (NISD)

11. Tijah Bolton Akpan, Policy Alert

12. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

13. Mrs Nne Umoren, Women Initiative for Climate Change

14. Ms. Idongesit Alexander, League of Queens International Empowerment

15. Mrs Nwindee Namon, Gbogbia Feefeelo of K-Dere

16. Mrs Regina Fabian Asanga, Rural Health and Women Development

17. Emeka Ogazi, Transparency and Economic Development Initiative (TEDI)

18. Dr. David Tola Winjobi, Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development.

19. Mrs Lilian Ekeanyanwu, CPDE Nigeria

20. Bako Abdullazeez Centre for citizen Rights

21. Aroh Silverleen, Save the Child Initiative

22. Olusola Adeosun, Community Heritage Watch for Development initiatives

23. Keme Opia, Bayelsa NGOs forum

24. Felix Ekhator New Apostolic Church Centre for Development

25. Israel Orekha, Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development initiative

26. Inyingi Irimagha, Gender and Development Action, GADA

27. Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, Civil Empowerment and Rule of Law Support Initiative, (CERLSI)

28. Dr. Jude Obasanmi, Josemaria Escriva Foundation

29. Chris Azor, International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre (IPCRC)

30. Grace Ese Obakina, Caring Hearts Initiative For Advocacy Development and Empowerment (CHIADE)

31. Onose Martha, Community Empowerment and Development Initiative

32. Abiola Daisy Igaga, Take a Cue Development Initiative (TACDI)

33. Batholomeu Okoudo, Keep Hope Alive Community Development Initiative

34. Doris Ogbeifun, Society for Empowered Youth Development

35. Philip Slabor, Development Initiators

36. Emeka Ezeigwe, Global initiative for Citizens Advocacy and Representation (GICAR)

37. Agatha Erhabor, Women Youths and Children Advancement Program

38. Mrs Deborah Olaolu Salami, CAFSO-WRAG for Development

39. Perseverance Umukoro, Oghara Centre for Social Justice