Carbon reduction targets set to output, consumption

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Royal Dutch Shell said that it planned to reduce carbon emissions from its oil and gas operations and product sales by 2 percent to 3 percent during the 2016-2021 period, the first time the company has issued carbon footprint targets.

The targets, which will be linked to executive pay, aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from its oil and gas extraction and refining as well for fuels and other products sold to millions of customers, known as Scope 3 emissions.

Rivals BP and Total have already set short-term targets on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but those planned cuts are limited to their own operations and exclude Scope 3 emissions.

"Early 2019, it was decided to set a Net Carbon Footprint target for 2021 of 2-3 percent lower than our 2016 Net Carbon Footprint of 79 grams of CO2 equivalent per megajoule," Shell said in its 2018 annual report, which was released on Thursday.

The targets will be linked to the remuneration of around 150 executives in 2019 and expanded to 16,000 employees next year.

The Anglo-Dutch company last year announced an "ambition" to halve its carbon footprint by 2050 by increasing its output of lower-carbon products including natural gas, biofuels, electricity and hydrogen.

Its decision to set targets in 2019 comes a year earlier than it had previously indicated.

The oil and gas industry has come under growing shareholder pressure to tackle carbon emissions following the 2015 Paris climate agreement seeking to reduce emissions to net zero by the end of the century, mostly by lowering fossil fuel burning.

Mark van Baal, head of the shareholder activist group Follow This, said the targets were not sufficient.

"Shell takes another step towards Paris," van Baal said in a statement. "However, this will not get us to Paris." (Reporting by Ron Bousso Editing by Paul Simao)