In 1991, Shell Produced This Alarming Video Warning About Climate Change Dangers

The oil giant then ditched its own concerns and spent decades lobbying against action instead.

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


A 1991 public documentary produced by Shell, in which the oil giant acknowledged the dangerous effects of climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s role in accelerating “ferocious” climate patterns globally, has resurfaced this week.

“Faced with such a disturbing scenario, governments are having to consider their response,” the narrator said in the film. “Global warming is not yet certain, but many think that the wait for final proof would be irresponsible. Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.”

The documentary also explored the power of alternative energy sources, including wind and solar powers, while predicting the devastating consequences manmade global warming might have on flooding, climate refugee populations, and more.

The video, which was obtained by the Correspondent, a Dutch online journalism platform and shared with the Guardian, calls into question why the company continued to heavily invest in controversial drilling projects and lobby against environmental protections, despite the prescient warnings presented in its film.

The video also adds to growing evidence of how early the oil industry knew about the serious dangers surrounding global warming. In 2015, previously unseen documents revealed ExxonMobil attempted to cover up its own scientific findings confirming the existence of climate change. The research programs were followed by decades of climate denial and the intense lobbying by the oil giant against emissions regulations.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate