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THE HAGUE -- Today, at the COP6 climate change negotiations, Shell's neighbors confronted them in their own backyard -- exposing their public relations "greenwash" as lies. At the meetings, Shell has been "greenwashing" its image -- attempting to deceive the public with a false image of its environmental and human rights record -- and false promises.
Margie Richard, from Norco, Louisiana (Cancer Alley), and Bobby Peek, from South Africa, live worlds away from each other. Yet they both suffer from Shell's toxic air and water on a daily basis. Richard and Peek traveled to the Hague to attend the 1st Climate Justice Summit to spread the word that Shell's production and distribution of oil is affecting both the global climate and the health and well being of people in the Global South and disenfranchised communities of color in the United States.
During one of their presentations at COP6, Richard questioned Shell Oil. "Will you hold true to your promises?" she said. Richard presented the company official with toxic air from her home in Louisiana's Cancer Alley, 17 feet from a Shell chemical operation. She also presented the Shell representative with contaminated drinking water from Shell's operations in the Niger Delta, gathered from a trip she took to the ravaged area in 1999. In response, Robin Kleiburg from Shell Oil promised Ms. Richard that "a top Shell Oil official will meet with you" to discuss a solution to their struggles.
Peek, who has lived for 30 years next to a Shell plant in South Africa, informed the public of Shell's broken promises in South Durban, South Africa, where Shell has reneged on public commitments to reduce pollution. He told company officials to "take more action and use less greenwash."
The Climate Justice Summit is co-sponsored by Corporate Watch, a San Francisco-based group working to hold corporations accountable, and a number of organizations around the world. The aim of the Summit is to present the human face of the people suffering from fossil fuels production, refining and climate change. The Summit also seeks to inject a strong human rights and environmental justice perspective into the global climate debate.
- 100 Climate Justice Initiative