shell climate change
Source: iStock

Twitter Roasts Shell for "Gaslighting" Consumers With Emissions Poll


Nov. 3 2020, Updated 10:00 a.m. ET

Sometimes, you just need to take a good, hard look at yourself in the mirror. We're talking to you, Shell.

This week, oil and gas corporation, Shell, took a break from polluting the planet to ask people on Twitter how they were willing to change their individual habits to help reduce emissions. As one might expect, Shell's Twitter poll regarding emission reduction did not go over well.

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Shell is under fire for blaming climate change on consumers in a Twitter poll.

shell twitter
Source: iStock

On Monday, Nov. 2, Shell asked Twitter followers,  "What are you willing to change to help reduce emissions?" in a poll. The four possible responses were as follows: Offset emissions, stop flying, buy electric vehicle, renewable energy. We'll just kindly ignore the lack of context for the fourth option. (Really, do what with renewable energy? Demand that Shell's entire portfolio be shifted to renewable energy? Now we're talkin').

Out of Shell's 551,000 Twitter followers, only 199 people participated in the poll (for the record, the vague option of renewable energy was the winner). 

But the poll's measly results are not the most notable responses here — those came from environmentalists who quickly latched onto the tweet, accusing Shell of gaslighting consumers and unjustly putting the blame on them for emissions.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out the oil company.

"I’m willing to hold you accountable for lying about climate change for 30 years when you secretly knew the entire time that fossil fuels emissions would destroy our planet," responded Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, followed by an angel face emoji.

"The audacity of Shell asking YOU what YOU’RE willing to do to reduce emissions," Ocasio-Cortez added, along with an eye roll emoji. "They’re showing you RIGHT HERE how the suggestion that indiv choices - not systems - are a main driver of climate change is a fossil fuel talking point. Yes, make good choices. Reign in FF [fossil fuel] corps."

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AOC is referring to evidence that Shell (among other oil and companies, such as Exxon, BP, and Chevron) was well aware of how severely fossil fuels caused climate change as far back as the 1980s, but covered up the data in pursuit of profit.

Greta Thunberg has no tolerance for polluters.

Climate activist, Greta Thunberg, responded to the tweet as well. "I don’t know about you, but I sure am willing to call-out-the-fossil-fuel-companies-for-knowingly-destroying-future-living-conditions -for-countless-generations-for profit-and-then-trying-to-distract-people-and-prevent-real-systemic-change-through-endless greenwash-campaigns," the 17-year-old wrote.

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As Greta mentions, the fossil fuel industry has consistently shifted the blame for emissions onto consumers, when in actuality, the industry is the one responsible for this crisis in many ways. This goes back to BP promoting the phrase "carbon footprint" in the early 2000s, all while sweeping evidence of fossil fuels causing climate change under the rug.

Twitter users immediately berated Shell following the poll.

Many other Twitter users responded to Shell's tweet, calling the company out for being hypocritical and misleading consumers. There are so many good tweets that will simultaneously give you a chuckle and make your heart hurt for the future of humanity on planet Earth. That being said, here are a few of our favorites.

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Climate groups and organizations called Shell out, too.

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Shell's response did not impress the critics.

"Changing the energy system requires everyone to play their part. That’s what today’s #EnergyDebate was about," Shell responded to the original tweet. "As for our part, we said last week that Shell will reshape its portfolio of assets and products to meet the cleaner energy needs of its customers in the coming decades."

If Shell truly wants to play its part, there are far more things the company can do besides hold a livestream.

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