Cutting oil and gas production would be “dangerous and irresponsible”, the boss of energy giant Shell has told the BBC.
Wael Sawan insisted that the world still “desperately needs oil and gas” as moves to renewable energy were not happening fast enough to replace it.
He warned increased demand from China and a cold winter in Europe could push energy prices and bills higher again.
Mr. Sawan angered climate scientists who said Shell’s plan to continue current oil production until 2030 was wrong.
Professor Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist at the University of Cambridge, said firms such as Shell should focus on accelerating the green transition “rather than trying to suggest the most vulnerable in society are in any way best served by prolonging our use of oil and gas”.
Head of the UN António Guterres recently said investment in new oil and gas production was “economic and moral madness”.
Mr Sawan told the BBC: “I respectfully disagree.” He added: “What would be dangerous and irresponsible is cutting oil and gas production so that the cost of living, as we saw last year, starts to shoot up again.”