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Dutch court opens Shell climate case to the public

By agency reporter: APRIL 14, 2020

In the Shell climate case, instigated by Friends of the Earth Netherlands along with six other organisations and more than 17000 co-plaintiffs. the Dutch court has announced four public sessions in December 2020. This decision will allow for greater public scrutiny and a potentially faster process, unlike that of the Dutch Urgenda case, where parties responded to each other mainly in writing, with a hearing following much later in the process.

The aim of the case is to force Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions as quickly as possible. Public hearings are seen as beneficial to the case, as Friends of the Earth Netherlands director Donald Pols said: “The publicity and international nature of this case could help stop Shell from getting away with telling a ‘green’ story while continuing to aggravate the climate crisis.”

Pols is relieved that the battle will not be reduced to an obscure fight on paper, “as this will protect the public interest angle of this case, and contribute to the social debate on the role of transnational corporations such as Shell, which are richer and more powerful than some entire countries, yet manage to shirk their responsibilities in the climate crisis.”

Planned course of the process:

  • On 1 September and 30 October 2020, all parties will provide their evidence for factual and legal justification.
  • At the same time the judge will clarify which questions the parties should explore in greater depth during the hearings.
  • There will be four days of hearings on 1, 3, 15 and 17 December 2020.

“Shell continues unabated in its path of climate destruction. This is an urgent, groundbreaking climate case with potentially huge implications for Shell and other corporate polluters who show complete disregard for justice and peoples hardest hit by climate impacts, especially in the global South”, commented Sara Shaw, Friends of the Earth International Climate Coordinator.

Donald Pols added, “The fossil fuel giant claims to be fully involved in the energy transition, but still invests 25 billion euros a year in polluting activities. Shell must put an end to its Co2 emissions as soon as possible and this court decision means the case may have a ruling by the spring of 2021. Not a moment too soon – the climate can not wait.”

* Friends of the Earth International https://www.foei.org/

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SOURCE

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