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Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030

Court orders Royal Dutch Shell to cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030

Oil giant told plans should be brought into line with Paris climate agreement

A court in the Hague has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45% by the end of 2030 compared with 2019 levels, in a landmark case brought by Friends of the Earth and over 17,000 co-plaintiffs.

The oil giant’s sustainability policy was found to be insufficiently “concrete” by the Dutch court in an unprecedented ruling that will have wide implications for the energy industry and other polluting multinationals.

The Anglo-Dutch company was told it had a duty of care and that the level of emission reductions of Shell and its suppliers and buyers should be brought into line with the Paris climate agreement.

Judge Larisa Alwin said Shell must “at once” reduce its CO2 output, adding that the ruling would have “far-reaching consequences” for the company and may “curb the potential growth of the Shell group”.

“The interest served with the reduction obligation outweighs the Shell group’s commercial interests,” she said.

Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands, also known as Milieudefensie, called on organisations across the world to “pick up the gauntlet”, and take legal action to force multinationals to play their full part in tackling the climate emergency.

He said: “This is a turning point in history. This case is unique because it is the first time a judge has ordered a large polluting corporation to comply with the Paris climate agreement. This ruling may also have major consequences for other big polluters.”

Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie, described the decision as “a monumental victory”.

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