Van Beurden at a reception in London in April. Photo: Daniel Leal- Olivas-WPA Pool/Getty Images

As Royal Dutch Shell faces both lawsuits and activists accusing it of misleading the public about climate change, its CEO addressed how the company has handled the issue — with a nod to the future.

Why it matters: Shell represents the leading edge in the oil industry when it comes to investments in cleaner sources of energy, but it has also borne a great deal of activist and investor pressure to do more.

The details: Shell is among several big oil companies named as defendants in lawsuits filed by cities and other municipalities across the United States claiming billions of dollars in damage from climate change. The lawsuits allege the companies knew and misled the public about the impacts their products have on the planet.

"Everybody will have a different perception. My perception is that we have been talking to governments about climate change as a real risk from the 90’s. We believe therefore that governments for a long time haven’t responded enough, haven’t done enough. You could argue, it’s also back at us again. Maybe we haven’t been assertive enough, maybe we haven’t been clear enough or maybe even omitted our obligations as a member of society to perhaps shame governments into doing the right things. Maybe it’s that extreme you have to be.
"In a way that doesn’t really matter anymore. We are where we are today. I think a company like us, many companies in the sector, by the way, are extremely well intended, we understand the magnitude of the change and the complexity of what it’s going to take commercially to make climate-change mitigations a reality. What I find really problematic and disappointing in this point of time is we want to spent the entire bandwidth that we have in society on disagreeing, whereas we should spend that bandwidth on actually working together.
"It’s so easy to imagine coalition of the willing, with companies like us, academics, governments, NGOs doing the right things.
"What happens instead, people point fingers at each other. When people get together to debate the issue there is an endless festival of ideas that’s going on all the time, nobody comes together and says, ‘Well, actually, I hear you, that’s a really good idea, why don’t we get on with it.’ That I think is one of the more disappointing parts.
"It will have to change at some point in time, the burning planet will be so visible and so hot that people will say, ‘let’s get on with stuff.’ But I think we are a ways off from that I’m afraid."
— Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

Go deeper: Big Oil teeters between enemy and ally in climate fight

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Trump whisked out of press briefing after shooting outside White House

President Trump was escorted out of a coronavirus press briefing by a Secret Service agent on Monday after law enforcement reportedly shot an armed suspect outside of the White House.

The state of play: Trump returned to the podium approximately ten minutes later and informed reporters of the news. He said the suspect has been taken to the hospital, but was unable to provide more details and said Secret Service may give a briefing later. The president praised the Secret Services agents, saying they do a "fantastic job" and he feels "very safe" with their protection.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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5 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Five states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health departments. Only one state — North Dakota — surpassed a record set the previous week.

Why it matters: This is the lowest number of states to see dramatic single-day increases since Axios began tracking weekly highs in June, and marks a continued decrease from late July.