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The Hague District Court ruled three years ago that Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, as it was contributing to the “dire” effects of climate change.
The Hague District Court ruled three years ago that Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, as it was contributing to the “dire” effects of climate change.
Shell back in court in landmark Dutch climate case

THE HAGUE: Shell will square off with seven environmental groups in a Dutch appeals court Tuesday, with climate activists accusing the multinational oil giant of failing to implement a landmark 2021 judgment. Judges at The Hague District Court ruled three years ago that Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, as it was contributing to the “dire” effects of climate change.

The ruling was seen as an “historic” victory for climate change campaigners as it was the first time a company had been made to align its policy with the 2015 Paris climate change accords. Shell, which called litigation “ineffective” to address climate change, is appealing the 2021 ruling, while environmental groups accuse the oil giant of failing to take action.

A new study “reveals that Shell will continue to invest billions of dollars in (new) oil and gas projects for decades to come,” said Milieudefensie, the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, which originally brought the case.

“In addition, Shell has announced it will lower its climate ambitions, willingly choosing to ignore its role in addressing the climate crisis,” Millieudefensie said ahead of the hearings, scheduled for four days this month. The study, done by Milieudefensie and fossil fuel research group Oil Change International, added that London-based Shell “also made the final decision to approve construction of 20 major oil and gas projects, including six in 2023 alone.”

“The scientific basis on which we’ve founded our claims against Shell has only solidified,” Milieudefensie’s lawyer Roger Cox said ahead of the hearings. “In court it’s facts that matter. That’s why I am confident that we can once again convince the judges that Shell needs to act in line with international climate agreements,” he said in a statement.

Shell hit back ahead of the hearing, denying it was ignoring the 2021 court ruling. Apart from the ruling giving the petroleum giant until 2030 to implement the judges’ orders, it was investing some “10 to 15 billion dollars between 2023-25 in low-carbon energy solutions,” Shell said. This represented 23 percent of its total capital expenditure, the multinational added.

“Shell agrees with Milieudefensie that urgent action is needed to combat climate change,” it said in a statement. “We just have a different view of how to achieve that goal.” “We do not believe that a court ruling against one company is the right solution for the transition to cleaner energy,” the multinational said. Shell said it believed the 2021 verdict “was ineffective and even counterproductive in tackling climate change,” but denied it was ignoring it.

“If this judgement is upheld, it will have far-reaching consequences for Dutch business, employment and the Dutch investment climate,” it warned. The 2015 Paris accords committed all nations to cut carbon emissions to limit warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels and encouraged them to go down to 1.5 degrees. — AFP

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