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Dutch Court Hears Shell’s Appeal Against Landmark Climate Ruling

Dutch Court Hears Shell’s Appeal Against Landmark Climate Ruling

 

A Dutch court will on Tuesday hear Shell’s appeal against a landmark climate ruling which ordered it to drastically deepen planned greenhouse gas emission cuts.

The district court in The Hague in 2021 ordered the oil and gas giant to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.

The order related both to Shell’s own emissions and those caused by the buyers and users of its products. It came amid rising pressure on energy companies from investors, activists and governments to shift away from fossil fuels and rapidly ramp up investment in renewables.

Shell has argued that the order lacks a legal base and says companies cannot be held responsible for the emissions of their clients.

“We agree that the world needs urgent climate action, but we have a different view in how that goal should be achieved,” the company said in a statement on its website.

“By focusing on one company, and only on the supply of energy rather than the demand for it, we believe the ruling is ineffective and even counterproductive in addressing climate change.”

Friends of the Earth Netherlands, which brought the case, said it was confident heading into the appeal.

“The scientific basis on which we’ve founded our claims against Shell has only solidified,” the group’s lawyer Roger Cox said.

“I am confident that we can once again convince the judges that Shell needs to act in line with international climate agreements.”

Shell earlier this month weakened a 2030 carbon reduction target and scrapped a 2035 objective, citing expectations for strong gas demand and uncertainty in the energy transition, even as it affirmed a plan to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.

The company in its statement before the appeal said it was “not ignoring” the court order, pointing out its $10-15 billion investments in low-carbon energy solutions between 2023 and the end of 2025.

“We believe the actions we are taking are consistent with the ruling and its end of 2030 timeline,” the company said.

Shell now targets a 15-20% reduction in net carbon intensity of its energy products by 2030, compared with 2016 intensity levels. It had previously aimed for a 20% cut.

The court has planned four days of hearings for the appeal this month. A verdict is expected in the second half of the year.

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 02-04-2024

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