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Climate Case Against Shell Begins In The Netherlands

Climate Case Against Shell Begins In The Netherlands

December 1, 2020

Activists march to Shell’s headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, in April 2019, delivering a legal summons to the company. The civil case began Tuesday, with plaintiffs demanding the company reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Koen van Weel/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

In civil court in The Netherlands, hearings began Tuesday in a case against energy company Shell that could have implications for future cases and the role of companies in meeting climate targets.

The case was brought by a group of seven environmental organizations and more than 17,000 Dutch citizens who are co-plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are demanding that Shell be forced to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands, or Milieudefensie, is leading the case. Royal Dutch Shell is an Angl0-Dutch company based in The Hague, where the public hearings are taking place in district court.

“This is a unique lawsuit with potentially significant consequences for the climate and the fossil fuel industry globally,” Friends of the Earth Netherlands Director Donald Pols said in a statement. “We are confident that the judge’s final verdict will force Shell to adhere to international climate goals and stop causing dangerous climate change.”

Shell said that it agrees with Milieudefensie that action is needed on climate change – but it argues that a court order is not the way to accomplish that.

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