David Nussbaum, WWF-UK's chief executive said:
It's hard to see an attractive long-term future for Shell if it continues to evade the scientific evidence on climate change and to argue that its investors will not be affected by its consequences.
"Climate change is already happening. Its principal cause is the burning of fossil fuels. We know that we cannot burn all the already known reserves if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. So what does Mr van Beurden believe the consequence for other businesses - not to mention our planet - would be if we were to allow fossil fuels to make up 80% of the total energy system 'for many decades to come'?
"If I was an investor in Shell, I would want to know why they plan to spend my money drilling for oil in the Arctic which is difficult, expensive and ultimately self-defeating."
Rod Downie, Polar Programmes Manager, WWF-UK said:
"British shareholders should be very concerned about Shell's irresponsible plans to drill in Alaskan waters. Arctic wildlife is already threatened by warming temperatures and loss of sea ice.
"Shell's bungled Arctic operations in recent years have demonstrated that they can't drill safely in this high-risk environment. Another major spill caused by a UK-registered company like Shell would be a great national embarrassment."
Margaret Williams, WWF managing director of US Arctic programmes said:
"The decision to move closer to allowing fossil fuel extraction from the Chukchi Sea -- home to majestic wildlife and a place where extreme weather, gale-force winds, and rough seas make operations and response to spills extremely difficult -- is a backward move at this time.
"Without proven technologies to clean up potential spills, offshore drilling is too great a risk to America's Arctic. We have so many better energy choices, including promising technologies that provide clean ways to power our lives without harming the planet."
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Notes to Editors.
Mr van Beurden told environmental campaigners on Tuesday: "The argument of stranded assets, the 'carbon bubble', is an argument that sounds quite convincing and quite strong. But the reality is 80 per cent of the total energy system is made up by fossil fuels, it has been for many decades and will be for many decades to come."
WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk.