Shell is ordered by the Dutch court to reduce CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 in a ruling that could set a precedent for polluting multinationals worldwide
- The Court of The Hague ruled that the company has a duty of care to reduce emissions
- It argued that Royal Dutch Shell’s current reduction plans are not concrete enough
- A decision could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals
A court in the Netherlands has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030 in a groundbreaking case filed by climate activist groups.
The court in The Hague ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and the current reduction plans are not concrete enough.
The decision could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world.
Activists gathered outside the courtroom erupted in cheers when the decision was read.
A court in the Netherlands has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030 in a groundbreaking case filed by climate activist groups
“The climate has won today,” says Roger Cox, lawyer for the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, one of the organizations behind the case.
This statement will change the world. People around the world are ready to take legal action against oil companies following our example, ‘he added.
The court in The Hague did not say how Royal Dutch Shell should realize the ordered cutbacks, but said that the parent company of the energy giant has ‘complete freedom in how it meets its reduction obligation and in shaping the Shell group’s business policy’.
In a written response, Shell said it expected to appeal the “disappointing court decision.”
The company said it is already investing “ billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including charging electric vehicles, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels. We want to increase the demand for these products and scale up our new energy companies even faster ‘.
During a hearing in December, Shell lawyer Dennis Horeman said that a ruling against the company could create a situation “ in which numerous parties can hold each other accountable through the courts for their role in that (energy) transition ” and give judges’ a central role. ‘. in an active and delicate political process’.
Shell says it has “ set an ambition to be a zero-emission energy company by 2050 or earlier. ”
The court said Shell is currently not in violation of its commitment to reduce emissions, as environmental groups had argued, as the parent company is tightening its emissions policy.
Donald Pols (photo), director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, called the statement in The Hague ‘a monumental victory for our planet, for our children and a great leap towards a liveable future for everyone’
But it found that Shell’s policy is ‘not concrete, has many caveats and is based more on monitoring social developments than on the company’s own responsibility for achieving CO2 reduction’.
‘That is why the court ordered RDS to reduce the emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and customers by 45 percent net by the end of 2030 compared to 2019, through the Shell group’s corporate policy.’
A group of seven environmental and human rights organizations and 17,000 Dutch people filed the case in 2018, calling on the court to order Shell to reduce emissions in line with the global goals of the Paris climate agreement. That equates to a 45 percent reduction in Shell’s emissions by 2030.
The court ruled on the claims of six of the groups.
The case is the latest in a series of legal challenges filed around the world by climate activists looking to take action to curb emissions, but it is believed to be the first to target a multinational corporation.
One of the first successful climate cases was also in the Netherlands, where two years ago the Supreme Court upheld a 2015 ruling requiring the government to reduce emissions by at least 25 percent by the end of 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
In February, a court in Paris ruled that the French government had not taken enough action to combat climate change in a case brought by four non-governmental organizations.
Last month, Germany’s highest court said the federal government must set clear targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2030.
Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, called the statement in The Hague ‘a monumental victory for our planet, for our children and a great leap towards a liveable future for everyone’.