An order to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 has been made to multinational gas and oil corporation Royal Dutch Shell in a landmark legal case.
The environmental organization Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars, together with other large charities as well as thousands of co-plaintiffs have filed the lawsuit.
The organization made a statement, saying: “Shell is the biggest polluter in the Netherlands. The company emits nine times as much CO2 as the entire Netherlands combined. Shell has known since the sixties that the use of oil and gas are harmful to the climate.”
Only 4% of Shell’s entire investments go to durable energy, according to Milieudefensie. The environmental organization’s experts also stated that the Dutch-British company is responsible not to harm neither the society nor the climate. But, since the company does not accept that responsibility the plaintiffs decided to go to court.
What makes this case special is that Shell is required to issue a policy change, instead of giving any compensation.
“This is great news for all of us, ourselves and our children,” said a represenative for Milieudefensie to Euronews Green.
“Shell will adjust its policy so that it will also emit less CO2 in real-time. It is not up to the judge to say how Shell should do this, but the company will not be able to continue pumping as much oil and gas as they do now. Even if Shell decides to appeal, the ruling will lead to more cases worldwide and politicians and oil and gas companies will feel the pressure to change their course.”
The Milieudefensie team was beaming with excitement.
“This statement is going to change the world,” stated Milieudefensie’s attorney, Roger Cox.
“People around the world are ready to sue oil companies in their own country, following our example.
“And not only that. Oil companies will become much more reluctant to invest in fossil fuels, polluting fuels. The climate has won today. ”
But, the ruling for Shell is only lawfully binding in the Netherlands.
With the country’s CO2 emissions exceeding the Paris Agreement targets, the Netherlands is lagging in climate defense.
Despite Mark Rutte – the Dutch Prime Minister having been in office since 2010, three Rutte cabinets haven’t made much progress over environmental legislation. Because of this lack of action, The Urgenda Foundation – environmental organization has successfully filed a climate lawsuit against the Dutch government in 2013.
In 2013, Urgenda sued and demanded from the state government that they reduce CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 in contrast to 1990 levels.
Urgenda won the legal dispute in 2015.
After several appeals made by the Dutch government, finally, at the end of 2019, in favor of Urgenda ruled the Supreme Court of the Netherlands.
Additionally, after 7 years of litigation, these judges decided that climate change is a danger to the population and that the country must defend its citizens by reducing CO2 emissions as soon as possible.