A Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to drastically deepen planned greenhouse gas emission cuts on Wednesday, in a landmark ruling that could trigger legal action against energy companies around the world.
Shell said it was “disappointed” and plans to appeal the ruling, which comes amid rising pressure on energy companies from investors, activists and governments to shift away from fossil fuels and rapidly ramp up investment in renewables.
Judge Larisa Alwin read out a ruling at a court room in The Hague, ordering Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.
“The court orders Royal Dutch Shell, by means of its corporate policy, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 with respect to the level of 2019 for the Shell group and the suppliers and customers of the group,” Alwin said.
Earlier this year, Shell set out one of the sector’s most ambitious climate strategies. It has a target to cut the carbon intensity of its products by at least 6% by 2023, by 20% by 2030, by 45% by 2035 and by 100% by 2050 from 2016 levels.
But the court said that Shell’s climate policy was “not concrete and is full of conditions…that’s not enough.”
“The conclusion of the court is therefore that Shell is in danger of violating its obligation to reduce. And the court will therefore issue an order upon RDS,” the judge said.
The court ordered Shell to reduce its absolute levels of carbon emissions, while Shell’s intensity-based targets could allow the company to grow its output in theory. [Continue reading…]