Pressure groups including Greenpeace, Fossil Free London, Neon and Tipping Point demonstrated outside Shell's annual general meeting in London

London (AFP) - British oil and gas giant Shell faced a stormy shareholders’ gathering Tuesday, as environmental protesters hit out over its pledge to tackle carbon emissions.

Pressure groups including Greenpeace, Fossil Free London, Neon and Tipping Point demonstrated outside Shell’s annual general meeting in London.

More than 100 activists interrupted the opening remarks from chief executive Wael Sawan, according to Fossil Free London, while others attempted to occupy the stage.

Shareholder activist group Follow This introduced a resolution calling on Shell to strengthen its ambitions to fight climate change, backed by one-fifth of shareholders who voted.

“Considering that up to 99 percent of shareholders voted along with the board on the other 25 resolutions, 20 percent of support and a significant number of abstentions in spite of a negative board recommendation clearly indicates shareholder discontent,” said Follow This founder Mark van Baal.

Shell chairman Andrew Mackenzie earlier argued the resolution would “weaken” the business, reducing the company’s “ability to help the world”.

Tuesday’s AGM came after Shell posted a sharp jump in first-quarter profit on resurgent oil prices, mirroring bumper earnings at rivals BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies.

The carbon-intensive sector has faced fierce criticism from the green lobby over plans to shift away from dirty fossil fuels and toward cleaner renewable energy.

Campaigners have slammed Shell over its goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, accusing it of “greenwashing” or marketing as climate-friendly its operations.

“Shut down Shell,” protesters chanted as they also interrupted speeches from Mackenzie and other board members.

More than 100 activists disrupted the start of the shareholders' meeting before being escorted out by security

Another group of protestors sang: “Go to hell Shell and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more” to the tune of “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles.

Dozens of protesters were reportedly escorted out of the event by members of the group’s security team.

Earlier this month, Shell revealed that profit after tax surged 22 percent to $8.7 billion in the three months to March from a year earlier.

The news came after rival BP announced Tuesday that it rebounded into net profit of $8.2 billion in the period.

Surging profits have prompted outcry from critics as Britons face a cost-of-living crisis on sky-high electricity and gas bills, sparking accusations of profiteering by energy majors.