Skip to main content




Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions

Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions

Milieudefensie director Donald Pols, right, and his lawyers wait for the start of the court session where judges were to deliver their verdict in the case brought by Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of the Friends of the Earth environmental organisation, against Shell in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 26, 2021. (Photo: AP/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE: A Dutch court has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by net 45 per cent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels in a landmark case brought by climate activist groups.

The ruling on Wednesday (May 26) by The Hague District Court could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world.

The court ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and that its current reduction plans are not concrete enough.

Shell can appeal the ruling.

READ: With oil past peak, Shell vows to eliminate carbon by 2050

The court said in an English language summary of its ruling that Shell is not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions as the environmental groups argued because the parent company is tightening its emissions policy.

However, it added that the policy “is not concrete, has many caveats and is based on monitoring social developments rather than the company’s own responsibility for achieving a CO2 reduction".

“Therefore, the court has ordered RDS to reduce the emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and its customers by net 45per cent, as compared to 2019 levels, by the end of 2030, through the corporate policy of the Shell group.”

READ: Shell profit slides to US$4.8 billion in 2020 as pandemic hits demand

A group of seven environmental and human rights organisations and about 1,700 Dutch citizens filed the case in 2018, calling on the court to order Shell to cut emissions in line with the global goals set out in the Paris climate agreement. That equates to Shell cutting emissions 45per cent by 2030.

The case in the Netherlands is the latest in a string of legal challenges filed around the world by climate activists seeking action to rein in emissions, but it is believed to be the first targeting a multinational company.

Source: AP/mi


Also worth reading