Shell Oil Company, one of the largest oil companies in the world, is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell and a notable figure in the fossil fuels energy market. Shell Oil Company has just lost a major suit which limits the maximum amount of emissions that Shell will be able to produce. A court in the North Sea coast of the western Netherlands, known as The Hague, has ordered Shell to cut its carbon emissions by 45 percent before the end of this decade. Pressure to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement has made its way to Royal Dutch Shell’s doorstep.

Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars’ Case Against Shell Oil Company

Friends of the Earth (Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars) and thousands of co-plaintiffs brought the case forward, convinced that Shell’s projected plans for greenhouse gas emission reduction were insufficient.  Shell Oil Company’s most recent set of goals aims to lower emissions by 20% no later than 2030 (against that of 2019 levels). Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars and Netherland citizens have been making demands to Shell as early as 2018.

By 2019, that campaign resulted in a lawsuit filed in The Hague. Luckily, 2019 was the year that the Netherlands’ Supreme Court ordered the national government to enact emissions cuts, enabling the courts to regulate greenhouse gases for corporations. Knowingly endangering human lives” is a serious charge.

The emissions cut verdict was supported by the so called “duty of care”, a legal obligation which requires a person (Shell in this case) to be circumspect and avoid potential (public) risks. The court has successfully made Shell responsible for the threats that it actually poses upon public safety and the ruling has merely expedited Shell’s inexorable path toward zero emissions by 2050. Compliance for reaching net-zero by the year 2050 is outlined in the legally binding Paris Climate Agreement; it will require the collaborative effort of all developed nations and their respective energy sectors.

Congratulations Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars

Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars has scored a win, underscoring an era of change and demonstrating the vigor of organized frustration.

2 thoughts on “Shell Oil Company Ordered to Reduce Emissions 45% by 2030”
  1. This is an awesome win, hadn’t heard of it. Are you familiar with the case of Steven Donzinger, the Lago Agrio oil field, and the Ecuadorian indigenous peoples Chevron poisoned? Hopefully they can get some sort of justice in an international court of law, as opposed to the US who won’t do anything and Ecuadorian justice system which has limited recourse. – Grant

    1. I do know of the Lago Agrio oil field and the plight of the indigenous inhabitants there. You’re correct, this issue does not appear to show up on the United States’ radar. The Agrio ecological impact (soil and water degradation) is certainly a matter of international concern.

Leave a Reply