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The Court’s decision on Shell is a major step towards ‘The End of the Oil Age’


Extracts from: Friends of the Earth v Royal Dutch Shell – what did the Dutch Court rule, and what does it mean for Shell’s business?

by  on 6th June 2021 in Oil markets

The Court’s decision
The District Court of The Hague made a landmark ruling on 26 May in the case made collectively by the Dutch Friends of Earth (Milieudefensie) and other NGOs versus Royal Dutch Shell (“Shell” or “RDS”) on the issue of whether Dutch law required Shell to limit its CO2 emissions:

  • The basis for the ruling was the court’s decision that Shell was subject to Dutch law due to its HQ being in The Hague. It did not allow similar cases brought by non-Dutch organisations/citizens to proceed as there was not enough “similar interest to join a collective claim”
  • On this basis the court ordered Shell to reduce (or cause to be reduced) the CO2 emissions attributable to its business operations, and its sold products, by at least 45% at end 2030 – relative to the 2019 level
  • The court also ruled that the decision is provisionally enforceable. This means Shell needs to start complying immediately, even if it decides to appeal this decision. This is a critical point as Shell is expected to appeal to the Court of Appeals. And it is likely the case will finally end up, after several years, in the Supreme Court

The impact on Shell’s operations is therefore immediate and very real.

The Court’s decision is a major step towards ‘The End of the Oil Age’. 


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