On Tuesday, in a significant development Royal Dutch Shell is facing a lawsuit brought on by environmentalist and human rights groups demanding that the energy giant cut its reliance on fossil fuels.
In April 2019, seven activist groups, including Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Greenpeace had filed a lawsuit on behalf of more than 17,000 Dutch citizens demanding Shell trim its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
According to the plaintiffs, Shell is threatening human rights by knowingly undermining international climate goals, since it keeps investing billions in the exploitation of fossil fuels.
“We are confident that the judge’s final verdict will force Shell to adhere to international climate goals and stop causing dangerous climate change”, said Donald Pols, a director at Friends of the Earth Netherlands on the eve of the hearing.
While Shell has stated that it supports goals set out in the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change and it has promised to cut carbon intensity of the energy products it sells by 30% by 2035, compared with 2016 levels, and by 65% in 2050, the action are targeting a reduction of at least a 45% by 2030, relative to the pollution caused in 2019, as a step towards carbon-neutral production two decades later.
The district court of The Hague, home of Shell’s Dutch headquarters, has planned four days of hearings in the case in December.