CO2 emissions: accused of inaction, Shell in court again

Shell logo, January 31, 2023 in Gateshead, England (AFP/Archives/Paul ELLIS)

The oil giant Shell has another appointment with justice on Tuesday, opposed on appeal to seven Dutch environmental NGOs who accuse it of not having implemented a 2021 judgment ordering it to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions .

A court in The Hague had ordered the Anglo-Dutch group to reduce its net CO2 emissions by at least 45% by the end of 2030 compared to 2019, estimating that they contributed to global warming and its disastrous consequences.

The legal procedure, called “the people against Shell”, was launched in April 2019 by several NGOs, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. More than 17,000 Dutch citizens also joined as civil parties.

The judgment was described as historic by activists, who welcomed the fact that no other multinational had then been forced by the courts to align with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

As soon as the judgment was announced, Shell announced its intention to appeal, considering that there was no legal basis for the NGOs’ demands and that this process was a political decision at government level.

NGOs accuse the oil giant of inaction.

A new study “reveals that Shell will continue to invest billions of dollars in (new) oil and gas projects for the next decades”, accuses Milieudefensie (Environmental Defense), the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, which had initially brought the matter to court.

“In addition, Shell has announced its intention to reduce its climate ambitions, voluntarily choosing to ignore its role in the fight against the climate crisis,” pointed out the NGO before the appeal trial, which is scheduled to last four days.

– “Different vision” –

The study in question – carried out by Milieudefensie and fossil fuel research group Oil Change International – notes that Shell “has also made the final decision to approve twenty major oil and gas projects, including six in 2023 alone” .

“The scientific basis on which we base our allegations against Shell has only solidified,” assured Milieudefensie’s lawyer, Roger Cox, before the hearings.

“In court, it is the facts that count. That is why I am convinced that we can once again convince the judges that Shell must act in accordance with international climate agreements,” he said in a statement. communicated.

Shell denies having ignored the 2021 court decision. In addition to the fact that it has until 2030 to implement it, the group argues that it intends to invest “from 10 to 15 billion dollars between 2023 and 2025 in low-carbon energy solutions”, or 23% of its capital expenditure.

“Shell agrees with Milieudefensie that urgent action is needed to combat climate change,” the group said in a statement. “We just have a different vision of how to achieve that goal.”

“We do not believe that a court decision against a company is the right solution for a transition to cleaner energy,” insisted the Anglo-Dutch major.

Shell considers the 2021 verdict “ineffective and even counterproductive in the fight against climate change”.

“If this judgment is confirmed, it will have considerable consequences for Dutch companies, employment and the investment climate in the Netherlands,” warns the group, now based in London.

The 2015 Paris Accords commit all nations to significantly reduce their carbon emissions to limit global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and encourage them to go down to 1.5°C.

© 2024 AFP

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