Shell to end AFPM's membership over climate policy, stays within Cefic, ACC

Author: Tom Brown

2019/04/02

LONDON (ICIS)--Shell has decided not to renew its membership of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) association next year over differing stances on the Paris Agreement and other climate policies, the Anglo-Dutch energy and petrochemicals major said on Tuesday.

The company has conducted a review of its industry association memberships in light of climate policies, with AFPM the only group where disparities on climate policy issues were pronounced enough for the company to discontinue its membership.

Shell also identified some policy misalignments with the US' chemicals trade group the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and Europe’s trade group Cefic over climate-related positions, but none pronounced enough to necessitate breaking away from those groups.

“We found that we were aligned with nine of the 19 industry associations; that there was some misalignment with nine; and that there was material misalignment with one industry association, AFPM,” Shell said in a report on its association memberships published on Tuesday.

“We have decided not to renew our membership of AFPM in 2020 as a result."

Shell evaluated its memberships in light of association positions on the Paris climate change mitigation programme, carbon pricing, low-carbon technologies, methane emissions and the use of natural gas in in transitioning to cleaner energy systems.

AFPM management has not stated support for the Paris Agreement, opposes carbon pricing and supports the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed rollback of fuel economy standards in the country.

Last week, the association criticised a vote in the US Senate on the Green New Deal, a proposed stimulus package intended to drive the development of clean energy.

“US fuel and petrochemical manufacturers strongly disagree with the premise that our products won’t be needed in the future,” AFPM said on 26 March.

“The Green New Deal is out of touch with the immense value that fuel and petrochemicals add to the world each day.”

The association also presented US Senator Ted Cruz, a critic  of climate change abatement legislation and supporter of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, with a leadership award during the AFPM summit in San Antonio in mid-March.

Large oil and gas firms have come under increasing pressure in recent years to increase the level of transparency on the efforts they are taking to meet the goals of the Paris Accord.

The shift has come amid wider scrutiny on large state investment and pension funds, which has prompted many to divest their holdings in the fossil power industries.

In March, Shell called on the US government to tighten methane emissions regulations from the oil and gas industry.

Earlier this year, BP announced that it is backing an investor group call to disclose how its strategy is consistent with the Paris climate change abatement goals, and would support a resolution on the matter to be brought forward at its annual general meeting (AGM) in May.

AFPM had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.

Pictured: A Shell oil tank in the UK; archive image
Source: Photofusion/REX/Shutterstock