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.


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.