Shell ruling should send shudders throughout shipping

What a hammering the oil majors took yesterday, reminiscent of Big Tobacco’s choking comeuppance in an American court 15 years ago.

In a single day, investors in the two biggest US oil companies punished Exxon Mobil and Chevron for dragging their feet on taking action to reduce global warming while more significantly in The Netherlands a historic court ruling could reshape how Shell carries outs its business.

Exxon Mobil lost at least two board seats to activist hedge fund, Engine No. 1, yesterday while just over two-thirds of Chevron investors supported a resolution to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Still, in the grand scheme of things Chevron and Exxon’s CEOs will be relieved they’re not in the shoes of their Shell counterpart. 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, marking the first time in history a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change in a case originally brought about by NGO Friends of the Earth.

Emboldened by this court victory, NGOs could target shipping next

All three companies will now be under enormous pressure from both shareholders and the wider public to cut emissions, and cut them fast. What’s more, emboldened by this court victory, NGOs could well target other polluting industries, potentially opening the door for class action suits around the world to speed up decarbonisation of the transport sector.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. OMG! I am amazed that people like you exist. It is shocking and sad really to say that climate change is a con! Clearly, you haven’t witnessed it, otherwise, you won’t say that. Rather than changing your mindset, which is almost impossible, I hope that you suffer something due to climate change. Maybe that only can open your eyes. As for climate change being normal, it is misleading to say that abrupt change is normal. We are bringing about an abrupt change. And global warming happening excessively is the problem. What has been cold region need not be warm because it is good for crops. That is called warming even if it is comfortable. Because when cold regions become pleasant and warm, the hot regions start seeing desertification and droughts and it is the opposite when there’s a cooling effect. The point being, any major change in climate is bad. And it is not only the solar cycle that affects this change. If you understand the greenhouse gas effect, then CO2 which is 450ppm is also a lot. Then there are other greenhouse gases too, but we are curbing their use/release in the atmosphere.

    1. Climate change is always happening. The problem is that there is a political agenda behind all this nonsense that everyone that has their eyes open is well aware of.

  2. Well the percentage of CO2 needs to be compared to what it use to be rather than how little it is. And even if the climates been changing it doesn’t mean our actions don’t make it worse. So much for ” science denialism” when you don’t understand what you’re talking about.

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