A Dutch court ordered Shell to cut emissions in a landmark case that could have implications for other major polluters. Activists described the verdict as “a monumental victory for our planet.”
By 2030, Shell must reduce emissions by 45% compared to 2019 levels, a court in The Hague ruled. The corporation said it hoped to appeal the decision.
It is believed to be the first time that a company has been legally forced to align its policies with the Paris climate agreement.
Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, who presented the case, said: “This is a monumental victory for our planet, for our children and a great leap towards a livable future for all.”
Roger Cox, a lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands, described the verdict as “a turning point in history”, adding: “This ruling may also have important consequences for other major polluters.”
Earlier this year, Shell pledged to cut emissions by 20% by 2030 with a view to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. It was one of the most ambitious targets in the fossil fuel sector. However, the court ruled that the corporation was not moving fast enough and ordered the energy company to go further.
This is a monumental victory for our planet and a great leap towards a livable future.
“Our hope is that this verdict will trigger a wave of climate litigation against the big polluters, to force them to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels,” said Sara Shaw of Friends of the Earth International. “This result is a victory for communities in the global south, who now face devastating climate impacts.”
In addition to indicating that Shell would appeal the decision, a company spokesman said it was stepping up efforts to cut emissions. “Urgent action is needed on climate change, so we have accelerated our efforts to become a net zero emissions energy company by 2050,” they said.
Main image: Activists celebrate the verdict in The Hague. Credit: Bart Hoogveld