A court in the Dutch capital The Hague has ordered Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) to fight climate change and massively cut-down on its carbon emissions.
It also told the oil giant and its customers to reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by 45% net by the end of 2030, compared with the level in 2019.
The ruling followed a petition filed by Milieudefensie – Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth – and several other environmental groups
The petitioners accused RDS of violating Dutch liability law by emitting two times as much carbon dioxide as the Netherlands as a whole.
RDS filed a counter motion insisting that the emissions do not come from its headquarters but its subsidiaries in some 80 countries around the world, and any complaint must be taken up with them directly.
However, the Hague court ruled that:
“…RDS, both directly and through the companies and legal entities which it customizes to include in its consolidated financial statements and with which it together forms the Shell group, the joint annual volume of all energy-carrying products of the Shell group associated with the business activities and sold Limit or cause to be limited CO2 emissions to the atmosphere (Scope 1, 2 and 3) in such a way that by the end of the year 2030 this volume will be reduced by at least 45% net compared to the level of the year 2019….”
It also ordered RDS to pay the environmental groups 22,000 Euros as legal costs.
Many experts see this ruling as an extension of the 2019 Dutch Supreme Court ruling, known as the Urgenda decision,.
That ruling compelled the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% of 1990 levels by the end of 2020.
It found that the Dutch government was required to meet the conditions of international treaties, including the Paris climate agreement.
Shell had argued before the court in The Hague that because it isn’t a party to such treaties, as they are between nations, it isn’t obliged to meet their targets.
But with this new development, the Dutch company is now under massive pressure because this month shareholders backed a motion by campaign group ‘Follow This‘ at the company’s AGM, calling on the oil and gas giant to draw up a more ambitious plan to help meet Paris agreement climate targets.