Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has been ordered by a Dutch court to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% as compared to its 2019 levels by the end of 2030 in a landmark case filed by the international environmental group Friends of the Earth and over 17,000 co-plaintiffs.
The court reportedly found Shell’s sustainability policy to be insufficiently concrete in an exceptional ruling which is expected to create a far-reaching impact for the energy industry and other multinational companies causing pollution.
The company was told that it had a duty of care and that its level of emission reductions and its suppliers and buyers should align with the Paris climate agreement.
Judge Larisa Alwin stated that Shell must cut its CO2 output at once and that the ruling would have extensive consequences on the company and may restrain its growth potential. The interest served with the obligation of reduction overshadows the group’s commercial interests, Alwin added.
Friends of the Earth Netherlands’ Lawyer, Roger Cox stated that this case is unique as it is for the first time a judge has ordered a big polluting company to comply with the Paris climate agreement.
Shell had mentioned back in February that it would expedite its transition to net-zero emissions, including targets to cut the carbon intensity of energy products by 6-8% by 2023, 20% by 2030, 45% by 2035 and 100% by 2050.
However, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that Shell had been aware of the dangerous consequences of CO2 emissions for decades and its targets were insufficient.
Earlier, Shell had mentioned that the case had no legal basis and that governments authorities are solely responsible for fulfilling the targets of Paris climate agreement. The court identified that since 2012, there has been wide global consensus regarding the need for non-state action as states cannot address the climate issue on their own, added Shell.