Dutch court order Shell to cut carbon emissions by net 45% by 2030

Ruling by Hague District Court could set precedent for cases against multinationals

The court said Shell is not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions as the environmental groups argued because the parent company is tightening its emissions policy. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty

The court said Shell is not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions as the environmental groups argued because the parent company is tightening its emissions policy. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty

 

A court in the Netherlands has ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by net 45 per cent by 2030 compared with 2019 levels, in a landmark case brought by climate activist groups.

The ruling by The Hague District Court could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world.

The court ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and its current plans are not concrete enough.

Shell can appeal against the ruling.

The court said Shell is not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions as the environmental groups argued because the parent company is tightening its emissions policy.

But it added that the policy “is not concrete, has many caveats and is based on monitoring social developments rather than the company’s own responsibility for achieving a CO2 reduction”.

“Therefore, the court has ordered RDS to reduce the emissions of the Shell group, its suppliers and its customers by net 45 per cent, as compared to 2019 levels, by the end of 2030, through the corporate policy of the Shell group.”

A group of seven environmental and human rights organisations and 1,700 Dutch citizens filed the case in 2018, calling on the court to order Shell to cut emissions in line with the global goals set out in the Paris climate agreement.

That equates to Shell cutting emissions 45 per cent by 2030.

The case is the latest in a string of legal challenges filed around the world by climate activists seeking action to rein in emissions, but it is believed to be the first targeting a multinational company. – AP