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Shell ordered by Dutch court to reduce CO2 emissions by 45%

A Dutch court has ordered supermajor Shell to significantly slash its carbon emissions, setting the stage for potential lawsuits against other oil and gas companies and big polluters globally.

A landmark judgment issued by the district court in The Hague said that Shell and its suppliers must cut CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.

For the first time in history, a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change, said environmental group Friends of the Earth.

The lawsuit against Shell, filed in 2019, was led by the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, alongside six other bodies and 17,000 co-plaintiffs.

Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said: “This is a monumental victory for our planet, for our children and a big leap towards a liveable future for everyone.The judge has left no room for doubt: Shell is causing dangerous climate change and must stop its destructive behaviour now.”

The environmental group believes the ruling will have major ramifications and sees it as an enormous step forward for the international climate movement.

“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,” said Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands.

The Anglo-Dutch oil and gas giant is expected to appeal the decision. 

“Urgent action is needed on climate change, which is why we have accelerated our efforts to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050,” a Shell spokesperson said. “We are investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels.”

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a backgroud in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.

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