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Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Yesterday, Royal Dutch Shell said it would aim to cut the "net carbon footprint of its energy products by around half by 2050," with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2035.

Why it matters: The pledge is the latest sign of how the world's biggest oil and gas companies are positioning themselves on climate change. It also comes on the heels of Shell's deepening involvement in electric vehicle charging.

  • "This measure will be tracked over time, with reviews every five years to ensure Shell is progressing in line with societal progress towards the carbon footprint reduction required to meet the Paris goals," the company said.
  • In addition, Shell said it would boost spending on its alternative energies division from $1 billion to $2 billion per year until 2020, but it remains a small part of the company's overall portfolio.

Yes, but: I reached out to Andrew Logan, director of oil and gas for the sustainable investment group Ceres, for some perspective on Shell's carbon goal. Here's what he told me in an email exchange...

  • While the specific goals here...are probably not ambitious enough, and are more back-weighted than I would like, Shell's acknowledgement that it needs to address product emissions, and align with Paris, crosses a psychological barrier that the industry up until now had steadfastly avoided.
  • It also draws a clear line between it and the US majors like Exxon, which has said that it believes a 2 degree goal is so unlikely that it is not worth planning for.
  • So the split in the industry continues to widen, with Shell, Statoil and Total actively preparing for a low-carbon future, and Exxon et al doubling down on business as usual.

Go deeper: The New York Times looks at Shell's plans here.

Go deeper

Gaming CEO calls on industry to help fight climate change

"Catalyst Black." Screenshot: Super Evil Megacorp

Gaming CEO Kristian Segerstrale is calling on leaders in his industry to take action on climate change, after completing a $1.4 million fundraising campaign this summer.

Why it matters: Gaming's pandemic-fueled boom creates an opportunity, and maybe even an obligation, to do some good.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Foreign travelers will be allowed entry to the U.S. beginning Nov. 8 if they can provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination with a shot authorized by the World Health Organization and a negative test within three days of departure, the White House announced Monday.

Why it matters: The updated guidance, which exempts children under the age of 18 from the vaccine requirement, is intended to provide further clarity for airlines and foreign nationals who have been restricted from traveling to the U.S. since early 2020.

5 hours ago - Sports

Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics

Logos for the 2022 Winter Olympics at Yanqing Ice Festival in February 2021 in Beijing. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Athletes, staff members and journalists at the 2022 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be required to quarantine for three weeks, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) outlined in its newly-published "playbooks."

Why it matters: The quarantine period is longer than the Games themselves, meaning vaccinations or an earlier arrival date will be required to participate in or cover the Games.