A Fireside Chat On Research Funding: MIT (Energy Initiative) Style

If you had a billion dollars for energy-related R&D, where would you spend it?

Earlier this month, the MIT Energy Initiative (the Institute's self-proclaimed "hub for energy research, education, and outreach [with a] mission [to] create low- and no-carbon solutions... while minimizing environmental impacts and mitigating climate change") posed that very question - on campus - to Shell Oil.  No, I am not making this up.

Yes, MIT (the reportedly #1 ranked university in the world) asked Shell, (the reportedly #1 world's most hated company), what to do about climate change.  The truth is always stranger than fiction.

Just in case you still don't believe that such a thing could actually happen at MIT, here is a link to the proudly published video of this event: A conversation on energy access, corporate social responsibility, and climate change solutions with Shell’s Harry Brekelmans​

The published description of the event that accompanies the video follows:

"Published on Sep 19, 2017

A conversation on energy access, corporate social responsibility, and climate change solutions with Shell’s Harry Brekelmans.  Shareholders of publicly traded oil and gas companies expect a decent return on their investments. To meet those expectations in today’s global economy, these companies have to reduce costs and increase productivity without jeopardizing safety. But foresightful shareholders also realize that corporate profits have to be balanced with social value in a world undergoing profound changes in the way it produces and consumes energy. Can scientific research and technology development help an oil and gas company make energy accessible to a growing population, tackle climate change, and provide a competitive return to shareholders? If so, how?

Includes an introduction by MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber and fireside chat with MIT Energy Initiative Director Robert Armstrong.

This talk was presented on September 6, 2017.

About the speaker:

Harry Brekelmans is Projects & Technology (P&T) Director and a member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell plc.

As P&T Director, Harry oversees an organization that delivers Shell’s major oil and gas projects, provides support to operating assets, and drives technological and commercial innovation. P&T also provides functional leadership in areas such as engineering, contracts and procurement, and IT, as well as safety and environment. P&T works with some of the world’s leading engineering, procurement, and construction companies and integrated services contractors. It also collaborates with public and private research institutes, start-ups, incubators, and entrepreneurs on technology developments.

Harry began his career at Shell after graduating from Delft Technical University with a degree in petroleum engineering. A stint in the R&D department of Shell’s Exploration & Production business in the Netherlands was followed by various roles in Egypt and the UK. From 2007 to 2009, he was CEO of Salym Petroleum Development, a Shell joint venture in Russia. In 2009, he became Executive Vice President (EVP) for Shell Group Strategy and Planning, before returning to Russia in 2011 as Country Chairman and EVP for Russia and the Caspian region. He moved back to his native city, The Hague, in 2013 to take up a new role as EVP for Upstream International Operated. Harry moved to his current role as P&T Director in 2014.

Harry is a member of the executive committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and a board member of the Global Leadership and Technology Exchange, which connects business, government, and civil society in seeking more efficient, low-carbon growth.

___ The MIT Energy Initiative is MIT’s hub for energy research, education, and outreach. Learn more at energy.mit.edu."

While MIT is hosting Shell for fireside chats on the environment and corporate social responsibility, I wonder what the rest of the scientific community is doing?  Let's ask The Guardian...

"The Union of Concerned Scientists in the US has started a campaign against Shell over its continued involvement in the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), a rightwing nonprofit organisation that has been criticised for drafting model legislation that denies any human contribution to climate change."

See... The real story behind Shell's climate change rhetoric​

Further, when "Harry" began to talk about Shell's corporate social responsibility efforts in Nigeria, he neglected to mention...

"The oil giant Shell has agreed to pay $15.5m (£9.6m) in settlement of a legal action in which it was accused of having ­collaborated in the execution of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the Ogoni tribe of southern Nigeria....

In the lawsuit, the families of the Ogoni nine alleged Shell conspired with the military government to capture and hang the men. Shell was also accused of a series of other alleged human rights violations, including working with the army to bring about killings and torture of Ogoni ­protesters.

The company was alleged to have provided the Nigerian army with vehicles, patrol boats and ammunition, and to have helped plan raids and terror campaigns against villages."

See... Shell pays out $15.5m over Saro-Wiwa killing​

I have previously written on ClimateX about the dangers of fossil fuel's infiltration of academia.

Now, we witness the results of ignoring that infiltration.

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Rick Shankman's picture

From the August 12, 2011 Al

From the August 12, 2011 Al Jazeera report (Aryt linked) above:

"The United Nations says this is just one of the places where decades of devastating environmental damage and pollution has been caused by the oil company Shell - it's Ogoni, in the heart of Nigeria's vast oil-producing region....

The UN report [on Shell's environmental impact in Ogoni] released last week says it will cost 1Billion Dollars and 30 years to clean up the mess."

Maybe that's what the $1Billion (subject of the MITEI/Shell fireside chat) should be spent on instead.

For a look at the 4-year, $10 Million, United Nations report, See... ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF OGONILAND.

Another informative video on Shell and it's activities in Nigeria, from Amnesty International... Taking on a giant - Shell in Ogoniland, Nigeria.