Oil giant Shell warns cutting production 'dangerous'
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."
The world is in a race to ditch fossil fuels in favour of greener alternatives as globally leaders have pledged to keep the world from warming by more than 1.5C this century.
Last year the European Commission outlined how the EU would speed up its shift to green energy to end its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
Many countries do not have the infrastructure to move to more sustainable forms of energy.
Mr Sawan said an international bidding war for gas last year saw poorer countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh unable to afford liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments that were instead diverted to Northern Europe.
"They took away LNG from those countries and children had to work and study by candlelight," he said. "If we're going to have a transition it needs to be a just transition that doesn't just work for one part of the world."
Claire Fyson, co-head of climate policy at Climate Analytics, a global science and policy institute, told the BBC: "The idea that it's a choice between our addiction to fossil fuels or working by candlelight is a gross misrepresentation of reality, when we know renewables are cleaner, cheaper and better for public health."