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Oxfam says energy giants Shell and E.ON are threatening the lives of millions of poor around the world

Energy firms threaten poor – Oxfam

Energy giants Shell and E.ON are threatening the lives of millions of poor around the world, a charity said.

Their “high-polluting policies” have been attacked in an Oxfam report ‘Forecast for Tomorrow’ that says they are contributing “to the UK pushing global emissions to dangerous levels for the world and catastrophic levels for the poor.”

The controversial Kingsnorth coal-fired power station, proposed by E.ON, attracted particular criticism, with Oxfam warning it will have the combined carbon output of 30 developing countries.

Likewise, Shell’s plans to treble investment in the Canadian oil sands which Oxfam says is three-times more polluting than conventional oil production.

The charity produced its own mock weather forecast for the large energy companies and has placed a majority of dark clouds and heavy rain showers over E.ON and Shell.

Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said: “We must switch to low-carbon and greater energy efficiency if we are to begin to stem the devastating impacts of climate change already being felt by millions of poor people around the world, despite them being the least responsible… companies like E.ON and Shell must reconsider their potentially destructive plans.

Last year, Oxfam said it responded to escalating numbers of climatic crises, including some of the most severe floods in Africa in three decades and similarly devastating floods in South Asia and Mexico.

According to the charity, the total number of natural disasters has quadrupled in the last two decades – most of them floods, cyclones and storms – with the number of people affected having increased from 174 million to an average of over 250 million a year.

A spokesman for E.ON said: “We’ve got three challenges: to keep people’s lights on, to keep costs low and reduce damage to the environment. We’re investing £6 billion on renewable energy projects up to 2010. The carbon capture storage we are proposing at Kingsnorth will take 95 per cent of the carbon from the burnt coal and store it under the sea.”

A spokesman for Shell said: “The CO2 disadvantage of oil sands, from the source to the end user, is only 15 per cent and not 300 per cent as Oxfam has said – it needs to stop misleading people. We are only one of a number of players developing the oil sands, just as the UK developed its, now dwindling, north sea oil resources.”

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