Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
36 mins ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.